As we walk through the prestigious art deco walls of the Freemasons hall, only to be greeted by a stark white box littered with pink balloons and the the words: “Billie Jacobina 100% Sassy”, we knew we were home. Having won both the Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) Residency Award and the Fashion Scouts Ones to Watch Award, expectations were high for the young designer as we waited to be wow-ed. Being inspired by her recent trip to Indonesia as part of the GFW residency program, Billie says she was captivated by the landscapes, sights, smells and sounds of the foreign country, which influenced her latest collection. Mixing both British and Indonesian influences, she attempted to create a collection staying true to her unique aesthetic, and Billie Jacobina… you did your damn thing.
Pop, youth, and pink are the first words that come to mind, whilst being gobsmacked as the diverse genderfucked models danced their way into the room, turning the white space into every 80’s dream fantasy. Models looking as colourful as the next, shimmered with their glowing faces, pastel eye shadow, hair curlers and ballon head pieces completed with accessories featuring My Little Pony, Hello Kitty, Trolls and mermaid dolls. They were dressed from head to toe in a mixture of sprightly splatter and camouflage prints, shimmering fabrics layered on top of delicate tulle, PVC sewn in with wool, faux fur and spandex combinations. Elongated oversized silhouettes with peek-a-boo slits and cheeky cropped pieces had frills on almost anything that frills can go on… combinations were endless and words just can’t do this collection justice.
Like the best slumber party you’ve ever been to, models engaged with their spectators – danced, drank and selfied with the rest of us, and basically, had fun. Billie’s message is simple. Fashion is fun. Fashion should be fun! In a time where the industry seems to be constantly fighting itself to be taken seriously, some designers appear to have lost their way, seemingly caught up in producing collections that are “commercially viable” (ahem, boring) as a measure of success, instead of viewing success as actually enjoying the process and creating something meaningful. If designers did this more often, maybe they would be less stressed, and generally happier people. Even more important now, living in a world of political uncertainty and quite frankly heading a billion steps backwards, Billie’s work reminds us to exercise and escape into our creative freedom. It represents the kick in the ass we all need to lighten the fuck up and realise that there is still joy in the world. Billie Jacobina, we are watching you and cannot wait to see what you have up your sleeve next.