Still reeling from success and accolades, and amid the maddening frenzy of being touted as one of London’s brightest young things, Charles Jeffrey looked to his native Scotland for a moment of reflection. What he found was a sleeping volcano of residual anger that need to erupt with a raging energy; an implacable compulsion to scream and shout from the top of the glen.
This collection - 'Tantrum' - is imbued with heightened emotion and an exploration of pain. A vital part of Tantrum’s narrative centres on the myth of gay pride and confidence, with all its pecockery and aggressive flamboyance. Integral to it is Alan Downs’ ‘The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World’ (2005) which addresses the sense of invalidation around heteronormative societal pressures on gay men, which after three decades of post-Aids concentration on gay men’s physical health, turns inward to their mental wellbeing.
The loud, louche exterior becomes a shield to stand behind, and an existential quest for validation somacitises itself in hard-edged glamour and hardcore hedonism. The burden is literal, and the sense of swimming upstream is combined with a distinct Scottish stubbornness. Menacing silhouettes, loud and large, are akin to animalistic gestures to protect oneself from predators. The extremity — and the elegance — of Charles James’ and Christian Dior’s wasp-y couture reflect a gilded constriction, actively uncomfortable yet intrinsically uncompromising.
At its core, though, there’s a distinct Caledonian sensibility. Illustrative jerseys cling to the skin, evoking naked Pictish body adornment. Wallace tartans are combined with LOVERBOY’s own tartan; a transcendental bridge between ancient and contemporary. Kilts are reconfigured with a DIY rigour. Apotropaic iconography is utilised as energy-affirming totemic motifs, representing words such as ‘Truth’, ‘Love’, ‘Energy’, ‘Power’, ‘Male’ and ‘Female’. Everyday basics seen on the streets of Glasgow are imbued with more than a wee bit of flirtatious verve.
Jeffrey continues to propose new ideas around men's and women's silhouettes, showcasing an expanded Womenswear offer for Autumn / Winter '18. Gaelic priestesses and Macbethian witches are shrouded in mists of intense colour and demonic adornments.