The groom – Vinnie Woolston. Photos: Katherine Lowe
There's something to be said for a brand that can keep the punters waiting over an hour for their show and still have them cheering the moment the lights go down. So it was at Stolen Girlfriends Club last night, where, according to eyewitnesses, the crowd was so large, a queue was still snaking around the corner of the street 30 minutes after scheduled start time (rumour has it 200 too many people were invited). SGC has amassed a cult following over the last couple of years, known as much for their massive parties as for their ripped up jeans and poppy tee shirts. The party was still huge, but last night's collection showed a new, consolidated direction for the brand, and it was easily the best we've seen from them yet.
Those ungainly shoulder fins that featured so prominently in their previous collection had been softened and reined in – they showed up trailing down the sides of the opening black dress in wispy georgette. Knitwear has been a strength of SGC's for the past couple of seasons, and this time they took it to luxurious new heights in creamy angora turtlenecks, cardigans, oversized sweaters and my personal favourites – heavy-knit short sleeved polo shirts. Each was accessorised with a single purple hydrangea, a recurring motif throughout the range. The flower featured as the collection's print – a large purple hydrangea lying on a bed of quite pretty-looking cigarette butts (despite the ew-factor, the butts were keeping with the theme – the show was called Last Night's Party).
Despite a couple of outrageous show pieces (panels of fun fur on a see-through white dress, and half-camel, half-fur trousers), the offering was tight. There were just six colours throughout – white, black, cream, camel, maroon and sky blue.
The womenswear was particularly impressive, no doubt testament to all the work they've done with stylist Zara Mirkin. Think sexy and at times a little naughty: thigh skimming pleated skirts and barely there transparent dresses. And it even verged on classically WASPish in a tulip skirt paired with a creamy angora turtleneck. Most importantly, it never veered towards those grungy territories of yesteryear. Designer Marc Moore explained the hot-factor backstage: "We're not gay, we design stuff we want to see girls wear. I don't know, maybe it's a little bit selfish, but yeah."
The show ended with a bang – all the models took to the stage to form a wedding corridor, and out walked Vinnie Woolston in the purple hydrangea suit, with his bride in a sheer white version of the opening dress. As she tossed her bouquet into the crowd (it was caught by the exuberant Sam Sargeant), an explosion went off, showering the audience in confetti. It was a sign of things to come (I didn't get out of the after party until about 4am).
We've still got a day of shows to go, and Huffer tonight, but I'm calling it show of the week so far. Stolen Girlfriends Club have upped their game to all new levels. With the power of their marketing, and now some bloody good clothes to back it all up, they might just have what it takes to become a world power brand. I can't wait to see where they go next.
Stolen Girlfriends Club – Dan Gosling, Marc Moore and Luke Harwood.
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