Charlie Le Mindu’s graphic AW11 show opened in darkness. As twisted electronic music blasted out, a lone, nude model appeared on the runway dripping in blood red paint and wearing a sign balanced on her head emblazoned with the word ‘Violence.’ The scene was set.
Presenting his third collection at On|Off, Le Mindu took us on a journey to the sexual underground of wartime Berlin, including huge graffiti sprayed Mohicans and an eagle headdress with long flowing lace trains dipped in blood.
Inspired by the glamour and grit of the Berlin brothel ‘Salon kitty,’ the film ‘Carrie’ and the ostensibly repressed era of the Second World War, Le Mindu said he explored the extremes of femininity and sodomy in his shocking show. Stained lace, transparent PVC and off-white fur were combined with masks, metals, military and graphiti art spray paint, as the show closed to the harrowing sound of squeeling pigs at the slaughterhouse. It was phenomenal.
After the catwalk, we caught up with On|Off sponsor Catherine McMahon, portfolio manager for L’Oreal Professionnel, who said: “It was great to see Charlie Le Mindu using hair so creatively at On|Off today. He contrasted an extravagant mohican with classic French plats. He used hair fringing on outfits. Hair is a fashion accessory and our partnership with On|Off helps our stylists explore this. On|Off’s creativity is reflected by our stylists, creating a fantastic working environment.”
Naomi Scroggins, of L’Oreal Professionnel products, added: “We’ve been working with On|Off for a long time as we have a great synergy. We both want to support emerging talent. Many of our stylists who begin their catwalk careers at On|Off go on to become head stylists for leading designers. After working at On|Off stylists return to their salons inspired.”
Charlie Le Mindu was the recipient of On|Off’s Visionary Award this AW11 season. He also presented an installation at On|Off, collaborated with On|Off’s art direction and worked on a collaborative t-shirt collection.
I chatted to the beautiful Daphne Guiness after the show (serious girl crush now!), who said: “Charlie Le Mindu is so inspiring. I thought the show was incredibly interesting. It represents everything I love about London. I have admired Charlie’s work for a long time and worked with him previously on shoots.”
When bottles of blood and a children’s paddling pool are found backstage you know controversial Charlie Le Mindu has arrived in the studio.
The designer took on the role of butcher behind the scenes at his AW11 show. “Charlie, do you want to do the blood?” yelled a stylist. Wearing a beige apron, Le Mindu rolled up his sleeves and prepared to get dirty.
A shrieking model stood naked in the paddling pool while Le Mindu drenched her in blood – theatrical rather than real – we think. Stylists cried “who wants some!” as models, dressed in gas masks and bird wings, backed away from the pool. Elsewhere body paint was applied to models’ skin to create an eerie mannequin-like look.
In another room, a model with a two-foot mohican had her face pressed sideways on a table whilst stylists smothered her hair in L’Oreal Professionnel holding products. Le Mindu then spray-painted the finished hair creation with graffiti.
FashionBite reporters Emily Seares and Amy Golding xx