Fleet-ing Appearance


I may have taken the lazy way out last night by running home like a wussy baby to central heating and duvets and therefore missing the opening bash of Fleet Ilya's Restraint exhibition and pop-up shop in Dalston last night but I scurried up there today to make up for it, observing the scene of hungover aftermath.  All the better to snap things without knocking people's drinks over. 

The immediate thing that struck me when I got inside the 5 storey warren was that I'm grateful to furniture/location/props hire company Castle Gibson, owner of the venue for providing this London-based leather husband and wife (Ilya Fleet and Resha Sharma) leather craftsmanship duo, with a pretty rid-onck-ulous venue for showcasing his work and vision as well as by all accounts, an awesome party venue for the night.  The ground floor is playing host to Fleet Ilya's pop-up shop with winding stairs leading to exhibition floors as well as a secret room where a bed and balloons made some bangin' noise last night.  Less said about that the better…

Only a fraction of you will probably be able to make it over to 76 Stoke Newington Road as the pop-up shop actually is only open for one more day tomorrow before it comes to an end.  It's interesting that it's been a good two years since I last wrote about Fleet Ilya when leather harnesses, cinch belts and bondage-inspired design elicited comments such as "Oooh…err..that's a bit RACY!".  Since then, harnesses have been rife in the portfolios of Etsy/extended accessories designers and Fleet Ilya has erased the need to make distinctions between different strands of his work, blending their leather harnesses, belts, jewellery along with his burgeoning bags line all synced with a way of leather working, that is uniquely their own made distinct by the choice of leather as well as the rivet work bonding pattern pieces together…

Cutesey rabbit ears take on a different context in Fleet Ilya's aesthetic…

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The bags seem to have grown in numbers, successfully transferring the harness styling to various functional shapes…





I also love these cuffs in this shade/finish of leather (raw nude?)…


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Go up the stairs and Fleet Ilya's world unwinds on each floor in the form of this leather light centrepiece…


…and the pi√®ce de r√©sistance, an amazingly constructed horse (a reference to Ilya Fleet's origins as a saddler perhaps?) that was created for Dover Street Market earlier in the year.  It's the first I've ever seen it and it dominated the room in the only way that a horse constructed with a gazillion of leather pieces like a complicated jigsaw 3-D puzzle can do…




Further up and the title of the exhibition reveals itself through a collaboration with photographer Rankin as well as two willing models (and couple me thinks?) – Sophie Willing (geddit?!) and Jethro Cave.  You can't see but the projections are actually 'rocking' images – sort of like a stuttered image combined with video. 




It's probably a bit pointless giving a heads up about the pop-up shop now with one day left but fear not as Darkroom and Opening Ceremony also stock Fleet Ilya's A/W 10-11 styles…

Seeing the house of Restraint in its five storey glory, also reminded me to check out Fleet Ilya's S/S 11 collection which takes a lighter turn for the season with an introduction of colour through shades of peppermint green and a delicate coral.  The colours creep in where necessary to soften the harness and belt shapes and dominate in sharp bursts in the bags, clutches and belted pouches.  Weirdly enough, me thinks you can't get go wrong with two shades of pastel/brights that have been on rotation on my nails… just need a belt or a bag now to match them in that slightly hideous/tacky way that I secretly dig…


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0 Replies to “Fleet-ing Appearance”

  1. The pieces look beautifully crafted. What an easy-on-the-eye way to create wearable, pseudo S&M/bondage, soft leather harnesses. Oh, the post mod world we live in hey! Inspiration is able to taken from anywhere we please and reworked however the hell we like – glorious! Thus is the fashion of fashion, where nothing is owned and nothing is new! X

  2. From the styling of the space to the new colour palette, the photoshoot (vintage MCM furniture stacked as set?! Genius!) and the way they’ve incorporated the harness shapes into the bags (as you mentioned) they are ON their game. Kudos to them!

  3. Hmmm I live just around the corner and was wondering what it was. Must spur up courage to try going in, the dark entrance was what scared me a little. Didn’t know if it was something cool like this or just another hidden Mini Cab place…
    kidding. Must. visit.

  4. I’m intrigued by how hard, sexy, and bondage-y the black pieces can seem, but the minute you make them pastel, everything changes. Really adore the little belt pouch in the seafoam color. Too cute.

  5. I find it intriguing that straps and harnesses can take on another feel besides something hardcore or provacative. I love how they’re used as accessories and really do compliment a look. Interesting and cute. 🙂
    Maryjane xoxo

  6. That ‘raw’ leather is ‘natural’. It’s untreated, so you get the actual color of the cow hide. The beauty of untreated leather, particularly bridle leather, is that it wears beautifully and gains a fantastic patina with wear as it comes in contact with moisture/skin/etc.
    Thanks for sharing this, the designs are gorgeous!

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