Mowalola Ogunlesi sure knows how to put on a show, and Spring/Summer 2024’s “CRASH” takeover of BEAMS in East London was no exception. It commenced with a poem handed to the showgoers, written by the designer and Time Take, which read: “If we crash tonight, baby do we die? If we crash tonight, baby will u ride? My love, u are the night sky, sex knocking at the door, broken necks on the floor, I want more and I want gore, more gore for the whore. I hope to hear that again, encore, till I see u again.”
A modern day romance this collection clearly was. “CRASH” gave a mixtape that blended Kanye West’s “Monster” into a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” two seminal releases that, like the above poem and the collection, were commentaries then-contemporary romance. This is not to be confused with a love letter to New York like last season, nor one another — rather, recognising one’s self worth.
How? Well, it was all about body. MOWALOLA dropped the waist to the pubic bone, barely covered nipples with MOWA-branded chest rigs and revealed the buttocks at the rear for a cheeky wink to the audience. This was met with sex symbols throughout, as bondage belts climbed the ladder-length legs of waist-high leather boots, while much of the collection looked as if they’d got dressed in a hurry. “Quick, they’re home!”
Boyfriend jeans were adapted for women’s silhouettes. That girl’s vintage bomber jacket that’s way too small for you? Don’t worry, it’s cropped now. Oh, and you want a mini skirt — how about barely-there skirts instead? Like the poem, sex really was knocking at the door, thumping against the concrete floors of BEAMS’ warehouse nightlife space.
But beyond just the obvious was a serious amount of growth for MOWALOLA. Styling from Lotto Volkova and show notes that shouted out Ye — who was at the show, by the way, alongside model Irina Shyak and Slawn on the runway — clearly made an impact on how the designer worked the SS24 collection. Some models were dishevelled à la Balenciaga (fitting, seeing who styled the show), and featured cuts and bruises on the wet-hair-slicked faces. They were also conjoined, sharing the love in a giant MOWALOLA track top, or another top that read “4 SLIM PEOPLE,” which was ironic given the size of the garment.
“CRASH” deserves a double take. One moment it was unadulterated sex. The next, conjoined twins. Later, business-chic trench coats that cinched the waist. And then, suddenly, takes on UMBRO’s logo with MOWALOLA’s insignia hijacking the tops.
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