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London Fashion Week AW24 Highlights: Patrick McDowell transformed discarded instruments into high fashion

Chloe Burney
18 February 2024

Last night, Patrick McDowell dazzled the audience at his Autumn/Winter 2024 showcase. The collection, dubbed 'Orpheus' Ball', took inspiration from orchestral structures and reimagines them through a fashion lens. 

In a pioneering collaboration with the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, the fashion show seamlessly merged fashion and music. Not only did the grand presentation showcase McDowell's commitment to multidisciplinary site-specific presentations, but it also immersed the audience into the art form of classical music.

In preparation for the show, McDowell delved into the Guildhall costume archive. As a result,  he reinterpreted the dressing codes of composers, paying homage to historic codes of dress.

McDowell's AW24 collection featured reimagined orchestral blazers and capes, each piece translating animated movements of musicians. Some silhouettes were literal translations of McDowell's inspiration, donned in printed scans of second-hand instruments.

Many looks were brought to life through discarded musical instruments - such as brass cymbals - deconstructed and re-contextualised for the catwalk, in collaboration with Guildhall student Lauren Jones.

The designer's signature corset-inspired tops and transformative skirts made a return, accentuating the elegant curves of the upper body and introducing dramatic volume to the waist.

McDowell said: "Growing up in Liverpool, a city steeped in rich musical history, I was nurtured by its cultural embrace. It became clear to me that music and fashion share a strong connection. Both are expressions of art, exuding drama, and carrying messages that resonate deeply."

Since its founding in 2018, Patrick McDowell's brand has been a leading voice on the global fashion stage, reinventing the role of a fashion designer with a fully sustainable approach. Each piece is designed and made in London with a low carbon footprint, using recycled and sustainable materials.

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