February 12, 2000
A jeep smashing through a wall of white paper, a moving forest, wire fencing, London's oldest railway arches: These images formed the backdrop for Robert Cary-Williams' third show, which was ultra London, ultra avant-garde and ultra brilliant. To Cary-Williams, clothes are something to be deconstructed and then reconstructed with ingenious zips and seaming. Take his idea of a dressa cream, devoré satin-slip dress hung by one thread off one shoulder, hung by a zip off the other and frayed at the ends, with one side trailing on the floor. Or a shirtmake it in black cotton, bind it with ties around the waist and then add intricately pleated cuffs that zip off. For coats, Cary-Williams took a tough olive cotton trench that had an asymmetric collar and one strap at the bottom that made it just off-kilter enough to be edgy. He also had a black version, minus that naughty little strap, that was unbelievably chic and wearable. So, there was only one wearable piece in the show, but Cary-Williams is still working out his style and his attitudehe has as much potential as Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan did at the beginning. We'll wait for the cocktail dresses.
A footnote, literally: Sandra Choi, the designer at Jimmy Choo, has created some nuttily fabulous shoes for this show. They were men's brogues in pale skin-colored leather, which had been molded in water on a foot, leaving imprints of toes in the shoes. Very original. Very odd. Very alternative-chic.