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Who’s Got Freakier Fashion?

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Fashion in London is extreme, perverse, and seriously experimental. London designers still stitch their collections on kitchen tables, pawn their mother’s jewelry, and generally beg, borrow, and steal to get their collections together. In New York, where designers’ collections are guided by retailers, the aesthetic is generally more nervous and better behaved. But in London, wackos like Gareth Pugh send out cyberfreaks in see-through black-striped PVC capes. Alexander McQueen before him specialized in shocking horror corsets made with spikes and pubic-bone-bearing “bumsters” shown in a Hawksmoor church in Spitalfields (“Jack the Ripper” territory). London designers love extreme locations—underground car parks, disused warehouses, former brothels—whereas New Yorkers show in white boxes. London designers invite a crazy mix of guests and revel in real let-your-hair-down, lose-your-house-keys, kiss-a-stranger after-parties. Of course, there comes a time when any London designer must flee the nest and show in New York or Paris, in hopes of attracting bigger bucks.


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