For autumn/winter 2012, London-based designer Louise Gray's references were plucked straight from her youth: Zillah Minx, lead vocalist of Gothic Anarcho-punk band Rubella Ballet and the 80s arcade game Pac-Man.
Zillah Minx's influence was the most pronounced. For each of the 23 looks, Nasir Mazhar created striking Mohawk hats, worn with eye-popping make-up and beaded chandelier earrings. Minx and her fellow Rubella Ballet bandmates were known for their Day-Glo stage attire, in contrast to anarcho-punk bands who tended to wear black, army-surplus style clothing.
"Gray's creations are her own, uncontaminated by other designers because she works from so many references and then creates something original out of their combination"
An interpretation of the maze from the Pac-Man arcade game featured in a number of Gray's designs, including monochrome tights and knee-high boots courtesy of Nicholas Kirkwood. An icon of 80s popular culture, Pac-Man is often credited with being a landmark in video game history, and is among the most famous arcade games of all time. Gray's collection also incorporated clashing psychedellic prints and grafitti brocade fabrics, using an eye-popping colour palette and layered styling.
Another print made a nod to industrial hazard tape, featuring thick yellow and black diaganol lines. In popular culture, the design is commonly associated the iconic yellow and black pillars in the Manchester nightclub, The Haçienda. As well as its legendary status, the club will also be remembered for its design flaws: in particular the prominent pillars which obscured the view of the crowd watching performers on stage.
"Louise Gray's show was a wonderful hit of talent", explains AnOther's fashion editor Agata Belcen. "Her creations are her own, uncontaminated by other designers because she works from so many references and then creates something original out of their combination. The collection was also very well executed and the collaborations with Nicholas Kirkwood and Nasir Mazhar make you excited about London fashion."
Laura Bradley is the Commissioning Editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.