Sometimes you suddenly find yourself in an unexpected place. Halfway through the Fashion East show that preceded Ryan Lo’s presentation, an unfortunate builder fell through the glass roof of Topshop’s 15-metre-tall warehouse space and landed in a crowded backstage full of teenage girls dressing and undressing. Thankfully he survived, though, hearing the barrage of screams from across the building, I'd imagine his ear drums aren't doing too well today.
On the other side of the show space, Ryan – a young designer who was born in Hong Kong and studied in London – dreamt up a sunken paradise of inflatable orcas and dolphins, installing a sky-scraping seahorse that towered over all the models. The soundtrack was full of feel-good shanties like Blondie’s “The Tide Is High”, and “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid.
“I have no idea!” says Ryan when I ask why he’s chosen to take us on an aquatic adventure. “I haven’t been to a beach for years.”
However, the set designers – glamorous Russian blondes Masha Mel and Tess Yopp – recently got back from Tenerife and explain that they wanted to create “a Hawaiian party for mermaids under the sea”.
Ryan describes the collection’s dreamy vibe as “dancing with coconuts in a straw raffia skirt” and has worked with Charlotte Stockdale and founders of The Mushpit, Charlotte Roberts and (VICE contributor) Bertie Brandes, on styling his spring/summer looks of sparkling Lurex woven into coral forms, glittering octopus graphics and Sailor Moon-inspired jewellery.
All of the models are incredibly chill, lounging around on dolphins without a care in the world. “They’re cute and sexy as always,” explains Ryan, before adding that – like the dangerous mermaids of yore – they “always get all the boys”.
Click through to see more photos from Ryan Lo's presentation.