It may have been overcast in Kings Cross, but it was ‘Surf’s Up’ for the Fashion Design & Marketing student Alex Po, who wiped out the runway of Central Saint Martins with a beachy-nostalgic scene of bathing suits and bell-bottoms.
The 23-year old designer from Hong Kong took us on a rose-tinted retrospective that combined the slick, sartorial silhouette of the 1970s with the glamour of a 1930s synchronised swimmer.
In case the audience was left in doubt of where Po’s head was at, The Beach Boy’s ‘Surfin’ USA’ pounded from the sound-system, although the rather androgynous looking ‘dudes’ that surfed the catwalk looked as if they had ridden he waves of John Travolta’s wardrobe, circa the 1977 heydays of ‘Saturday Night Fever’.
But whether you’re looking for a boogie or a boogie-board, this collection features a selection of statement accessories that will keep you dazzling from the dance-floor, to the seashore. Patent white platform boots accompanied an assortment of candy-coloured swimwear pieces, including bubblegum-pink aviator styled swimming caps, a sherbet-yellow striped bag in the shape of a beach-ball and, just for show, there was even a surfboard enameled with Po’s initials.
Such detailed pieces were paired with stretchy, jersey knits of pallid colours inspired by the wooden panels of beach decking. The opening look featured a loose, asymmetrical tunic with a cushioned cream hem, that exposed a pair of zig-zag knit trunks underneath, as well as a pair of matching leg warmers, in contrasting shades of baby-blue and yellow. So did a figure-hugging, backless swimming costume, although in this case it was tucked into a pair of tailored alabaster white, high-waisted flares.
The contrast of these structured garments with the softly coloured, malleable fabrics, sponsored by Al Cantara fabrics, emphasizes the designer’s intention of fashioning an “elegant and contemporary collection with a sense of humour.”
Entertaining detail is laced into a creamy two-piece that features a cable-knit jumper with puffed sleeves, and a pair of stripy-blue, bulbous bell-bottoms that look as if they had been inflated like a rubber ring. Though the shape had shades of the TV character ‘Mr Blobby’, the plumpness of this look created a bouncing effect desirable of achieving the movement of the dance beat.
Practicality and groove certainly come hand-in-hand with this collection. One mop-headed model sported a fetching pink, double-breasted coat, which would be perfect for warming up from skinny-dipping, to the disco.
A closer observation of the jacket reveals fine stitching that translates the ‘AP’ logo. Such intricate detail coordinates the theme of clashing textures and patterns. Adding to the ‘70s psychedelic vibe is a ribbed polo-neck placed under a blue zigzag vest, that itself is placed beneath a powder yellow catsuit designed with a similar cut-out design to the swimsuits.
Whether you have Disco fever or not, Alex Po is getting into the swing of creating clothes that proves to be as cool as it is camp.