>> The last time I was in Limelight in London, I was necking overly-sweet WKD drinks, dancing to the Artful Dodger and thought my Miss Selfridge paisley polyester top was awesome. Who knew that more than a decade later, I’d be back inside this former nightclub, that’s yet to be converted into an arts centre, and be flung into a topsy turvy world of circus freaks – or as Sophia Webster has dubbed it – her “Cirque du Sophia”. The instant reference of course for Webster and set designer Shona Heath, who transformed this derelict church space, has to be the Bauhaus classic, Oskar Schlemmer’s Das Triadisches Ballett. It’s a familiar reference, influencing the likes of Jean-Paul Goude and winding up on countless designer mood boards. The costumes of the Triadic Ballet are singular and their costumes pointed to a far-far-away future that hasn’t actually quite happened yet, even nearly a hundred years down the line from when the ballet was first debuted. It was an ambitious mise-en-scene for Webster to attempt. To put this much effort in to the models in their bulbous and cuboid statement costumes which are after all, a vehicle to allow you to see the shoes and the bags, shows Webster’s commitment to her theme.
Webster cleverly combines both eyeball-grabbing set and product so that, the former doesn’t overshadow the latter. These surreal humanoid beings with their spherical curves and hard-edged boxy angles can join Webster’s past gatherings of human Barbie dolls, garden fairies and jungle raver chicks, and all the other mini-universes that collectively spin out shoes and bags in Webster language. This season that includes rave-meets-circus motifs, sassy slogans a-plenty and a capsule collaboration with Coca-Cola. Webster, having had her first child, has also expanded her range of baby shoes. Even though a Leigh Bowery-esque catsuited acrobat was doing “freakshow” type body contorting as you entered the space, there definitely isn’t anything that would freak people out about Webster’s collection.
With thanks to Mercedes-Benz for providing transporation