London's East End fashion gang has gotten into the habit of tagging Louise Gray
as a mini Vivienne Westwood. Well, you can see what they mean. Gray, a feisty little Scot with a topknot hairdo, has a quirky artistic confidence that's growing season by season. Her presentation at Somerset House—part static installation, part models bopping around—had guests smiling the minute they walked in. Playful was the word: She'd pinned her patchworked, multi-textured pieces to fairground boards—the kind with cutout holes for people to stick their heads through. It was an invitation to silliness and photo-taking that was happily taken up. (Any light relief in a grueling schedule is gratefully received by all.)
Her felt bowlers and vaguely Nostalgia of Mud-era shapes might have underlined Gray's rep as a Westwood-alike, but look closely and there's no literal parallel, no political agenda in the younger designer's work. What she's good at is messing with fabric techniques like burn-out quilting, throwing great zigzaggy patterns together, and then finishing a total look with nutty details like orange shearling tongues stuck in high-top trainers.
Fun. And as a top-to-toe look, totally individual.