28 Reasons To Appreciate Zany British Fashion Designer Louise Gray

As she takes a break from her mainline collection, enjoy these examples of her wild and freewheeling work.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Louise Gray attending the 2012 British Fashion Awards 2012 at The Savoy Hotel in London.

British designer Louise Gray recently announced she’ll be taking a year-long hiatus from her spot on London Fashion Week’s schedule. This is a real shame.


In place of designing for her eponymous label, Gray says she’ll be, “working on design and consultancy projects for major brands, as well as collaborating with my friends in London.”

Even amid London’s bold crop of young, avant garde designers, Gray’s shows always stood out for their sense of near-anarchic fun, a consistent mish-mash of clever tailoring, beautiful prints and then usually a bunch of random shit resembling the detritus of a Supermarket Sweep cart dash — it all (mostly) made sense even though it probably shouldn’t. Here’s some of the many things London’s runways will probably be missing these next two seasons:

1. Hand-drawn crown eyebrows and exclamation mark earrings.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2013.

2. This hair-raising hairstyle.

Samir Hussein / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2012.

3. And this model wearing something that resembles that cheap fake coral you put in your home aquarium.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2011.

4. I think this is actually the innards of a box of wine attached to a knit sweater here, which is just a fantastic idea.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

And if it’s not a plastic pouch of wine then it’s a handy inflatable pillow for when you need a little nap here and there. From fall/winter 2013.

5. And I think this is a birds nest, constructed by a bird with a strong sense of color.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2011.

6. This trash bag take on a belt.

From spring/summer 2010.

7. And this trash bag take on an ostentatious fascinator.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2013. (Once, as a giddy young fashion student, I had to help design an outfit made entirely of trash bags… for a fashion show featuring homeless teens as models. The idea seemed in rather bad taste to me, but there you go.)

8. This fake mohawk on model Kelly Mittendorf, who never seemed to make as much of an impression as her features should dictate.

Samir Hussein / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2012.

9. These brilliant sunglasses, which should definitely replace the basic black shades you see worn all too often on the front row.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2013.

10. Another shot of the sunglasses. Also note the lovely cobalt blue beauty mark.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

It’s a classy touch. From spring/summer 2013.

11. And then this, less beauty marks and more a case of fever. FASHION FEVER.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2011.

12. This sheer shift dress with handy mirror panels. Not sure what they’re handy for, exactly, but that’s a minor detail.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2013.

13. Your own personal supply of toilet roll. Never get caught short again!

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2013.

14. And this model bravely soldiering on after her pet piñata blew up. She could use a few sheets of toilet roll to wipe away her tears.

From spring/summer 2011.

15. These Styrofoam earrings, because pearls just don’t cut it anymore.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2013.

16. And yes, it does say “HEY CRAZY” on those sunglasses.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2013.

17. This commitment to the art of crimping, not to mention the art of nonsensical layering.

From fall/winter 2010.

18. This, whatever it is.

Samir Hussein / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2012.

19. And this heart-shaped balloon hat. (Also, earrings made out of whistles!)

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2011.

20. Hoop earrings covered in tinfoil that are probably a big seller on Etsy.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

Also, this model looks like Mila Kunis. From fall/winter 2013.

21. And this metallic trompe l’oeil take on a jaunty little hair bow.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2013.

22. This Christmas decoration-style craft project you made at school during art class. Paper chains were always your favorite, after all.

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2011.

23. Absolutely everything that’s happening here, because it’s all wonderful.

From spring/summer 2011.

24. And these tabloid newsprint tights, which are also wonderful.

Stuart Wilson / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2013.

25. Handy rolls of duct tape doubling as chunky bracelets, because you never know when you’ll need to tape someone to a lamppost (or wrap up a package, I suppose).

Tim Whitby / Getty Images

From fall/winter 2013.

26. This take on industrial garment shredder chic.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2011.

27. And this bag of penny sweets, including gummy fried eggs which are my favorite.

Ian Gavan / Getty Images

From spring/summer 2011.

28. But I would trade in a full bag of gummi fried eggs for this amazing bright pink furry bodysuit. Who wouldn’t?

From fall/winter 2010.

In conclusion, Louise Gray’s return to the catwalk cannot come quickly enough.

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