Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault of the (now mononym) Knwls brand have a knack for an appropriate collector’s title, this season settling on the word ‘adrenaline’. As the thrill of the live London fashion shows returns for the first time this season after the pandemic, the duo wanted to bring back the visceral excitement of a high octane runway experience. “We always had these talks during the lockdown where people were asking, do you like the digital program? But for us, it’s like going to a rock concert rather than watching it on YouTube; it’s just not the same, ”says Arsenault. “The experience is so much more amplified when it’s live.
Obviously, they know a thing or two about creating a show. Marking their first time at an independent venue, Knowles and Arsenault opted for the bowels of an underground car park near Oxford Circus, where the models walked through specks of light on a thunderous industrial soundtrack, making it the one of London Fashion Week’s most exciting montages so far. It helped that the environment harmonized perfectly with the collection, which one could imagine being carried by a Mad Max firecracker not afraid to flash a little (well, a lot) of flesh during a run. of street through the wet concrete belly of the city.
Knwls’ signatures – waist-high bustiers, drop-waist pants cut in sheer mesh, elaborate riffs on underwear as outerwear – were all catered for, with a few surprises as well. There has been an expansion of their quintessentially earthy color palette to hot pink accessories, light blue denims and a final look of ghostly and ethereal whites and creams, along with a clever play of textures, with fabrics treated to appear greasy to oil or speckled with acid. The brand’s increasingly ambitious work with leather has been another highlight, from meticulously crafted paneled mini-dresses to a particularly striking pair of webbed pants fringed with leather tassels. from waist to ankle.
Part of Knwls’ distinctive aesthetic is their ability to combine various influences in a way that never seems fancy. Here there was a touch of the Wild West in the rough, ready-made snakeskin cowboy hats and loosely laced suede effect dividers in Leatherface style, or their brilliant riff on the jackets of aviator, with cocoon type leather shoulders with stretch rib panels extending to the armpit. A collaboration with white-hot jeweler Marco Panconesi resulted in gorgeous earrings and bracelets dripping with stones and colorful crystals that managed to feel both effortlessly bohemian and ready for the dance floor at Studio 54. .