After toying with the idea of launching womenswear for several seasons, Christopher Shannon finally bit the bullet for spring 2015, serving up a collection of fifteen looks to accompany his London-based menswear line that’s amassed a cult following of its own. “It was a considered, heartfelt decision,” says the Liverpudlian designer. “But now that I have a bigger team, more space, and a fully fledged idea, it just seemed like the right time. And,” he adds, “it feels really good.”
Part modern rave, part sensual sportswear, the debut is an eclectic mash-up of romantic ruffles, softly draped tailoring, free-spirited prints, and athletic silhouettes that retain elements of Shannon’s high-low street aesthetic, but ultimately carve out a separate identity. “Though my menswear archive informed some of the pieces, such as the oversize tees and trousers, this has a different beat than the guys’ stuff,” he explains. “We worked hard to re-fit, re-fabricate, and really experiment.”
Like many young British designers, much of Shannon’s work is driven by an exploration of London’s diverse youth culture. References for spring 2015 include the documentary-style images by photographer Ewan Spencer and the mid-nineties club scene, which he cites as the “backbone” of the collection. “I was thinking about the cool, confident girl with long shiny hair who goes out in a tiny skirt and trainers so she can dance all night,” Shannon says. “The pieces are made for the movement of music, like the cropped white shirt which has a fantastically obnoxious swell of ruffles at the back when you twirl around.”
Certainly, those hunting for a directional alternative to the ubiquitous LBD will lap up the top notes in the line—such as the black silk bomber with detachable ruffle sleeves (a party trick of its own accord), slouchy statement-print pants, marshmallow-pink shorts, and thigh-grazing XL shirts (worn as dresses, naturally). “The pieces are made for that discerning sexy girl who’s a bit androgynous and open to interpretation,” he says.
And who better to road-test his new creations than his fashion-conscious troupe of female muses, such as designer Louise Gray, stylist Charlie Harrington, and emerging singer Tyson McVey—the chic, Brixton-based daughter of music pioneer Neneh Cherry. “Tyson’s in this amazing band called Panes, who have a gritty yet soft garage sound. She’s also gorgeous and young with a unique sense of style,” says Shannon. “But I feel like London girls in general are so well-dressed right now, just effortlessly individual, cool but not contrived and happy to be themselves.” Lucky them, they’ve now got a few more distinctively easy pieces within their reach.
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