models waiting to go on the catwalk

On Monday London bore witness to a storm of ages; and no, not Franklin, but Ozwald Boateng’s historic return to the fashion week fold after a twelve year hiatus. Fara Bashorun, one of the designer’s models and LUX contributor, shares his backstage report and photographs

One couldn’t think of a more befitting setting for Ozwald Boateng’s London Fashion Week comeback than The Savoy hotel. Upon arrival I was warmly welcomed by doormen who casually ushered me through to the ballroom, our backstage, just as if it were any other studio in Shoreditch. Catering was headed up by Açai Girls, who prepared a palatial assortment of fruit bowls, pastries and avocado toast for breakfast and an equally impressive feast for lunch.

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breakfast

Starting the day with breakfast served by Açaí Girls

model photographs

Putting the finishing touches to styling

clothes rails

A tribute to Jamal Edwards

Rehearsals in the Savoy Theatre

From arrival until rehearsals at around 6pm, the hair and make-up teams did their demos while stylistic genius’ ArtComesFirst put the finishing touches to the looks and figured out the run-order. From my experience, rehearsals can be quite anxiety inducing, but the vibe from the choir’s soundcheck helped put everyone at ease while we practised navigating through the hotel’s cloisters to get from the ballroom to the Savoy Theatre where the show would eventually take place.

Devoid of divas, egos and general industry malarkey, there seemed to be a subconscious agreement that we had all come together to be a part of something truly iconic and greater than self. I’ve genuinely had greater struggles at landing a chair at Bruce’s barbers in Burnt oak than cheekily squeezing myself into the queue for the onsite barber between Pa Salieu and Goldie. A star-studded yet familial essence made up the atmosphere; the juxtaposition a true testament to Ozwald’s ability to cultivate culture.

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This energy underpinned not only the show but the whole occasion right through to the night’s end. Talent was instructed to walk however we felt comfortable, a touch of class demonstrative of Ozwald’s genius. Usually high fashion can be overwhelming, with the outfits wearing the people as opposed to vice-versa. Ozwald implored us to really own the moment, understanding that you look the best when you feel the best and creating an infectious sense of pride.

My look was a phenomenal velour dinner jacket pair with flared velour trousers, black round-framed sunglasses and grey Chelsea boots. Embodying the Ozwald’s afrofuturist design language, the jacket’s elaborate print drew inspiration from the Dinka tribe of South-Sudan with classically luxurious western silhouette.

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The show was an artistic myriad of poets, brass musicians, drummers, singers and other performers, closing with Idris Elba and a choir-led grand finale. The euphoria the crowd witnessed on stage wasn’t rigidly engineering, nor mere coincidence, but artisanally intentional: the result of meticulous design.

The feelings on stage were packaged up, ubered over and reverberated through the Annabel’s hosted after-party which saw generations of creatives, their friends and family shake body to amapiano till the early hours. The DJ set played by Kim Turnbull, Places +Faces founder Ciesay and Jimmy Vivendii was the perfect end to a night that shook the paradigms of London Fashion Week and reminded us of the ingenuity it had missed for so long.

View the collection: ozwaldboateng.co.uk

Backstage during rehearsals

Ozwald Boateng with one of the show’s models

My look featuring a velour jacket and trousers

Getting ready for the final performance

The after-party at Annabel’s