Central Saint Martins graduate Essie Buckman was named the Fashion Scout Merit Award winner this season for her unapologetic urban womenswear brand, Fortie Label. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Eudon Choi and Phoebe English, Essie was awarded a new talent initiative worth £20,000 to support her emerging brand to grow on a global scale.
Inspired by an intriguing combination of 90’s R&B music video stars (‘Video Vixens’) and 19th century all-girl criminal gangs (‘Forty Thieves’), the immersive showcase of this fierce female-led collection was the most fun of all the first day shows.
The show began with scantily clad models dancing behind the iron clad gates of Freemason’s Hall, welcoming in a model dressed as an archetypal pimp who strutted the runway throwing dollar bills at the FROW. From then on, the party atmosphere kicked off, celebrating centuries of strong black women in style.
The undeniable highlight of this collection were the rich colours and textures. From chocolate brown faux fur and blinding black patent leather to burnt orange velvet, metallic gold chiffon and sequin leopard print – it was a true feast for the senses.
There were also some interesting collaborations in this AW18 offering, including bikinis created by swimwear designer Louisa Ballou and statement shoes fashioned by footwear designer Erin Alexis.
Accessories also continue to play a strong part in the brand; this time it was trend-worthy oversized gold doorknocker earrings. A bridal style look closed the show – but the blushing bride held a messy bunch of flowers inside a big bottle of booze.
Fortie’s new showcase had an effortlessly old-school cool aesthetic and a fun-loving, take-no-shit attitude, but with meticulous attention to detail and supreme design and construction skill. Fortie Label is certainly one to watch, for this season and beyond.