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For his debut solo show out from under Lulu Kennedy’s protective wing at MAN, Bobby Abley  went to infinity and beyond. Sorry but the headlines and tweets about the London-based designer’s space-inspired collection at LCM earlier this month were of a similar ilk. It’d probably be faintly annoying if the collection hadn’t been so good. For SS16, Abley took one of his earlier concepts – ‘Astro-Abley’ from SS13 – and this time, played riffs off Disney’s Star Wars on signature streetwear- inspired silhouettes. Wit has always been a central tenet of Abley’s offering, along with strong graphics, quirky prints and bold colours – and it was all here in bucketloads, as Abley reworked elements of costume and character from the iconic films and cleverly blended them with progressive design. Neoprene sweat tops were shaped to resemble astronaut suits; rose-gold glitter encrusted fabrics made up a tracksuit and boxing shorts. Straps dangled from waists and shoulders, like parachute harnessing – or the space equivalent – come loose. And, of course, the characters were there: white outfits were stamped with Storm Trooper faces, furry striped sweaters read ‘Chewy’ – or showed an Ewok; C-3PO was etched out in gold. Vader’s head was stamped onto a cropped harness top and, in extra homage, models were accessorised with metal mouth-guards like the Dark Load’s breathing apparatus. Slogan tees were scrawled with ‘Super Duper Storm Trooper’, ’Princess Slayer’ or ‘Bobby Fett.’ There’s a nice line in accessories to be enjoyed here, too: as models wore bright yellow rings reading Star Wars, a ‘moon’ bag dangled almost delicately from a male model’s write, next to a white teddy, Abley’s signature. The starting point may have been retro (anyone reading this remember when Star Wars first came out? When it ushered in a whole new world of film and fantasy? No? Just me) but the effect was unashamedly of the future. http://bobbyabley.co.uk/

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