Louise Gray's maximalist pop pastiche got a little extra spring in its step this season as the designer graduated to her first-ever runway show. The models looked a bit like crested exotic birds in their bright fringed raffia headpieces made by millinery talent Nasir Mazhar. In fact, you could take that avian metaphor and, er, fly with it. Gray's collection appeared to be crafted the way that a bird makes its nest, snatching available elements—often bright and shiny—from all around to create a sort of ingenious makeshift beauty.
Fluorescent cardboard and Styrofoam balls filled clear PVC T-shirts (and a wedding dress), and a miniskirt was made entirely out of bottle caps. On the more wearable side, lovely dresses in a sun-bleached multi-shade print, an evolution of Gray's signature dévorés, had an appealing pieced-together feel, especially when fastened by a cluster of little ties. The confettilike sequin embroidery on a sheer skirt, meanwhile, incorporated red hangtags. (Gray became obsessed with the idea after finding one on a vintage top and leaving it on).
For all her magpie inventiveness, Gray is smart enough to recognize that art and commerce need to be closely interwoven. Perhaps that's why she so gleefully announced that the cartoony-cute rubber platforms made in collaboration with Pollini (and its new creative director, Nicholas Kirkwood) would definitely be hitting retail floors.