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Taking You Into THE LORE OF LOVERBOY at Somerset House

★★★★★

Scottish-born Charles Jeffrey presents ten magical years of the fashion label LOVERBOY in the exhibition The Lore of LOVERBOY, located at Somerset House, where he featured as one of the original resident artists and continues to have a studio. Beginning as a student of Central Saint Martins exposed to London’s Queer club scene, his fabrics have now been worn by the likes of Harry Styles, Tilda Swinton, Charli XCX, and J-Hope of BTS. The exhibition tracks the years from Jeffrey’s student life to his fashion connoisseur status through bold and eccentric designs, telling a remarkable tale of artistry and endeavour. 

Photo by Tim Walker, courtesy of Somerset House


Co-curated by Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Jonathan Faiers and Bunny Kinney and designed by David Curtis-Ring, The Lore of Loverboy comprises three stages of the brand’s development: Initiation, Ritual and Manifestation. Jeffrey initiated his brand while studying at university and hosting parties and club nights in East London, not only showcasing his designs but also developing the brand into a culture. Jeffrey’s designs are enhanced by world-building and experience, defining LOVERBOY as the party you never want to leave. His initial designs draw upon youth movements and subcultures evoking intriguing aspects of punk music, the films of Gregg Araki, and references to Vivienne Westwood. Personality leaps out from the pages of early sketches containing monster-like characters. Patterned fabrics enveloped in striking colour feel like beams of hot flashing lights that would momentarily reflect on your skin in a sweaty nightclub.


Photo by David Parry, courtesy of Somerset House


The second room, 'Ritual', emphasises the importance of collaboration and community. Details of the deliberative process are interwoven in the exhibition, containing notes, letters, scraps of fabric, used coffee cups, and tea bags. The behind-the-scenes craftsmanship exposed to the viewer humanises the fashion industry and displays the physical labour invested in the design process. We get a backstage pass into the world of Charles Jefferey’s vision boards. Fashion is not only made up of runways, fashion weeks, and status symbols, it is also physically produced and organised by hands working together through interactions and communal trust. The Lore of LOVERBOY captures a community of individuals working together to produce awe-inspiring garments.


Further into the ‘Ritual’ room, symbols of gender and pagan spirituality were scattered over suits. LOVERBOY has been praised for its centering of spiritual freedom and emancipatory ideals over rigid structure; fluidity is championed over traditional and conservative modes. The walls of the room were lined with scaffold-like structures, implying the brand is always under construction, growing and changing as time progresses.


Photo by David Parry, courtesy of Somerset House


The successive room labelled ‘Manifestation’ celebrates the triumphs of the brand in its global success with celebrity figureheads. Performance and theatrics are present at the brand’s core, allowing for glorious spectacle to take place. LOVERBOY invigorates the fashion world with its fresh and magical properties, inducing a whirlwind of global appreciation and admirable success. Sitting comfortably in its throne, LOVERBOY will forever remain etched into the heart of the fashion industry. 


You can visit The Lore of LOVERBOY at Somerset House until 1st September 2024. Tickets operate on a

'Pay What You Can' scheme. For more information on the exhibition, visit their website.

 

Edited by Faye Elder, London and Beyond Editor

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