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Backstage at Ashish Was a 'Fucked Up 1950s Disco'

According to the designer himself.

by Dean Kissick, Photos: Freel and Gorse
17 September 2014, 11:02am

In the reception of the Topshop show space, where Ashish is about to present his new collection, the crowd’s treated to an odd menu of cauliflower tabbouleh with pomegranate jewels and pansy petals, mushroom quesadillas, salted caramel gelato lollies and faux champagne.

Backstage, the most colourful, sparkling show of London Fashion Week is about to begin. The room to my right is cordoned off and police are attending the space where, earlier in the day, a man unexpectedly fell through the roof. To the left, a topless boy is being oiled up by a team of hair, make-up and styling assistants, with rainbow dust in his hair and opalescent oversized jewellery around his neck.

“For me, this season’s vibe was fucked up 1950s, and a lot of disco,” says Ashish (Gupta), an Indian designer with a passion for sequins and shiny pop.

“Oh, I thought this season’s girl was a psychedelic barn slut rolling around,” laughs stylist Anna Trevelyan. She’s super cute, has glow-in-the-dark hair in all sorts of fluorescent shades and was originally scouted by Nicola Formichetti on MySpace.

All of the models walking Ashish's show are black, which makes a welcome change from the overwhelmingly white catwalks that generally come as standard at LFW. “I don’t think there’s enough diversity in the fashion industry,” says Ashish. 

“Also, we like casting boys,” adds Anna, whose latest Instagram post, true to her word, was of a table covered in Polaroids of ripped, near-naked men.

Ashish’s collection is covered in sequinned rainbows, snakes and celebrities: Kim and Kanye on a jumper, One Direction on a pair of baggy jeans.

“You know how in Leicester Square they do those portraits of celebrities?” he asks. “I love when people do their weird fan art, like on Instagram, and I just wanted to do that.”

The show's soundtrack includes a harmonic cover of “That’s the Way Boys Are” by No Wave band Y Pants, fading away into Koudlam’s nosebleed banger “Negative Creep”.

Once it ends, the backstage is filled with cheering models and lots of hugging and flirting, and – slightly incongruously – the rapper Eve wandering around happily. It’s a great way to end the day.

@deankissick / freelandgorse.tumblr.com

Click through for more photos of the Ashish backstage.