Mel ran off to get a good photo spot (in front of some fairly unpleasant ladies who spent the show bitterly nattering at each other about their unsatisfactory seating- life is too short ladies - get your elbows out....) and I took a standing spot with Anna Daubner of Our Fashion across from Boy George. Taking inspiration from the video game Silent Hill and the artwork of John-Henry Fuseli we were excited to see what webs would be weaved before us.
The lights finally went down and a hunched flame haired figure lurked onto the catwalk in a long black dress with large green feathered wing like fans. The catwalk was dark, with fizzling flashes of white and the creature began to rise.. Yes, you read correctly, it started rising up in the air, reaching 10-12 feet high! Then forward it came, with wild eyes and flapping wings before retreating into the London night and leaving the show to the less vertically blessed (though no less large in backbone or personality!)
The darkly wild music changed with almost every outfit providing a fitting gothic soundtrack to go with the crazy cult couture that Ziad Ghanam is so well known for. Everyone we spied in the audience (including us!) were dancing and grinning in their seats - which is always the best sign. The story rolled along twisting tales of, among others, a young woman dark and innocent, whom you assume talks like Wednesday Adams. She grew up as the show continued until she met her match. Then came the blackest "White Wedding" you could imagine. Artist duo Paul and Nora Battenburg-Cartwright played the new husband and wife before the "night of the wedding" arrived and out danced a ballerina who tackled the whole runway and back on points, twirling, veiled in lace and chiffon.
And so girl becomes woman (or man becomes woman or vice versa or upside down - we love it..!..) and the outfits more powerful, more flowing, more gutsy. My absolute favourite was a studded skirt, and chiffon ruffled top. The painted pale model walked halfway down the catwalk before raising their arms and wiping their face with black paint and walking on. It was gut-wrenching!
Bright colours of fuchsia, teal, royal blue and purple followed, full pheasants on silks, studs, sequins, beads, silver and gold - all on models painted so beautifully and ornately deathlike they took your breath away. Every single character down the catwalk carried with them such personality. It was lush to see a show where the models were WEARING the clothes - and loving them, and expressing themselves - instead of the clothes wearing THEM. It was refreshing to see a designer not fearful of being outshone by his models - because though they were immense the two components of the show played off of each other so well. One fed the other until there was nothing left but carcasses and bodies and the sound of our awe.
Our hands are held up - we surrender Ziad Ghamen! Thanks so much for being you!
The 4 frontal catwalk photo's courtesy of glamour.com