Monday, 15 April 2013

LCF MA Showcase... Antonia Lloyd

"Fun and functional" is how Antonio Lloyd succinctly describes her MA graduate collection. Casting our ever eager eye across the ocean of creative talent that is LCF, we were quickly drawn to her confident display of sartorial trickery and for us, there's so much more that can be said about this accomplished collection. Having had the pleasure of chatting through her colourfully crafted rail days before the show at London Fashion Week in the capacity of my day job at i-D, I couldn't resist delving a little deeper here.

As artfully as a board slices through surf and as skilfully as trucks glide along a rail, her work balanced and blurred the world's of tailoring and contemporary sportswear. It was the epitome of smart-casual built around the emerging talent's love of surf culture.  "I learnt to surf when I was 11 and have grown up in the age of Kelly Slater. I read his autobiography and learnt about the surfers who influenced him. Through documentaries I learnt that although the art of surfing has been around for many years the real shift in to professional competition happened around this time. 'Bustin’ Down the Door' and 'Dogtown and Z-Boys' are reflective documentaries about the era." Looking to the true pioneers of skating and surfing from the 1970s, Lloyd glided through the crashing waves of Hawaii and zipped across the dry pools of Santa Monica with a soundtrack of T. Rex and Iggy and the Stooges blasting from her headphones. From the beach to the boardwalk, inspiration was everywhere. "The year before I started the Masters I visited Australia," explains LLoyd. "I found Sydney to be inspirational, my experience of the city was one that embraced an outdoor and active life style with a city career. I wanted to try and emulate this in a collection.

Despite fondly looking back, Lloyd's collection managed to feel as fresh and as exciting one of the majestic mavericks taming a bomb wave. Building on her internship experience at Ozwald Boateng, J.W. Anderson, Tim Soar, E. Tautz and T.Lipop along with her time at LCF, the emerging design talent created hybrid garments that focused on design for function. "I always want to be able to explain why something is the way it is. I like to design for function as well as aesthetics so I need to know why a seam is finished a certain way over another. There are lots of rules in menswear, I believe these need to be understood before you can go on to design your own thing."

"Ultimately, I didn’t want to produce a collection that resembled costume; it was important that it not look gimmicky but instead have references to sportswear of the 1970’s. Skate and surf footage both amateur and professional, enabled me to establish the needs of an athlete whilst performing.  Functionality of the garments was most important and I approached much of the designing like that of product design, first identifying needs then designing to fore fill them." From ingenius paddle panelling that enabled 360 degree movement to shirting that mixed a duo of hardy denims, waterproof board shorts to backbacks full of jungle life thanks to a Stephanie Webb print, the garments floated in a sea of delicious details. None are superflous. These are details born from the dreams and demands of her muses.

parrot in repeat
Catwalk shots courtesy of LCF. All others by Stephanie Sian Smith.

"I was inspired by the attitude of guys like Jay Adams and Ian Cairns. What you have to remember is that all these guys were very young, mid teens early twenties, they truly were going against mainstream by trying to make a career out of their sports, that must of taken some serious self belief." Much like a talented graduate paddling out in to the waters of the unknown. Has any of that self belief rubbed off on Antonio Lloyd, I ask her as the interview draws to a close. "Next is hopefully a position within a fashion house where I can continue my exploration of and education in cutting, As I mentioned in our i-D interview, I admire the likes of Hardy Amies and E. Tautz for what they are doing with a traditional tailoring label on a high fashion platform. Also designers like Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, with such successful womenswear collections, are seizing the opportunity for something similarly creative within their menswear lines is really exciting and to work for someone like that would be great. Eventually the dream destination is Paris. Hopefully with maturity and experience Lanvin isn’t too unrealistic." For now, Lloyd will continue to wax her board and hone her skills in wait of the next big wave.

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