Mad About the Boy – a free exhibition at the London College of Fashion

Remember Secret Santa? Well Megan who gifted me the nice grey wool suggested we meet up as we live very close to each other. She explained that since she missed the McQueen exhibition she had decided to go to every fashion exhibition in London. Starting with this one! So we met up on my day off and went to the exhibition space at the London College of Fashion. We invited my daughter and tried to sneak in her little boy (it was a boyswear exhibition) , but they weren’t having it. Babies are banned at the London College of Fashion exhibitions – so be warned. She went off to look at school shoes at John Lewis while we went round.


The premise of the exhibition is fashion’s fascination with youth – both in terms of the idealised slim and supple body shape to the rebellious and inventive instincts of adolescence. It makes sense therefore that the exhibition is set in a college mainly for the young – the London College of Fashion. This exhibition also focuses on the young male as a source of inspiration as well as a customer group to design for.

The exhibition shows how Club culture strongly influenced young men’s dress. The crop tops and wide legged trousers favoured by those who danced to Northern Soul music are referenced in Raf Simons trousers and patchworked jumper offering. It made me laugh a bit that I danced at the Hacienda and had lots of friends who loved Northern Soul and now these styles are appropriated again in modern menswear design. That’s fashion! I really like the use of different textures and colours in this outfit and in the jacket created by Martine Rose. Tim Banks (quoted in the guide supplied for the exhibition) says

“Marc, Raf, Hedi – all these grown men, given huge resources to flex their adolescent fascinations”.

Raf (Simons) is also responsible for the full length “leavers shirt” in the show. My kids all came home with versions of these from their last day at school. Even my DIL Bianca had one in Brazil – although they wore cool polo shirts rather than the horrid polycotton workwear our English schools proscribe.

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Raf Simons

The other thing that was interesting about the exhibition (no babies and aimed at adolescence) was the rather purile sense of humour. There was a grubby studenty comfy chair with a short film showing on a cracked TV. And a defaced wash-basin. And a toilet.

4 Responses

  1. ceci

    The much beloved Smithsonian museums in Washington wouldn’t let children in strollers, slings or backpacks into many exhibitions…..which pretty much excluded the parents too unless you could carry a heavy someone through a maze of galleries. I never quite got that…… Of course getting school shoes is important too but perhaps not as much mental stimulation.


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