Ashish is the reigning champion of quirky, over-the-top cool. Known for coating everything in sequins, he can make even the grungiest checked sweatshirt into a sparkly statement piece.
But it was the accessories that really caught everyone’s attention at the label’s Spring/Summer 2014 show: plastic shopping bags, reimagined in the most iridescent way, were casually swinging from the models’ hands, as if they were carrying their shopping down the runway.
Some had classic blue or pink stripes – a riff on the essential laundry bag – but it was the tongue-in-cheek logos that really stood out. M&S has been reimaged as S&M, Tesco has become Disco and Coca-Cola has been provocatively replaced with Coke.
Not since Anya Hindmarch’s infamous ‘I am not a plastic bag’ tote for Sainsbury’s, back in 2007, have we wanted a supermarket carrier bag so badly. If you love Brian Lichtenberg’s cheeky logo sweatshirts, or Untitled & Co’s viral slogans, this could be your accessory of the year.
The clothes themselves were dusted with all-over sequins too (a classic Ashish move). Even the jeans, which were torn at the knee, were covered in them. But somehow they still looked fluid, and moved like real fabric, rather than becoming stiff and unwearable: that’s the difference between Ashish and sequinned pieces on the high street.
Unfortunately his label is slightly on the expensive side for most of us, so I’ve done my best to find the affordable alternatives. If none of them will do, check out Milkteef for some amazing photos from the Ashish show, both backstage and on the runway.
This sequinned clutch from ASOS is a brilliant alternative to the Ashish shoppers, and it’s even on sale at the moment. The check pattern is pure 90s, but the all-over embellishment brings it bang up to date.
Kenzo has so many irreverent accessories, almost all of them embellished with print, that we’ve practically lost count. But this palm tree clutch is our favourite, with textured faux leather and a zip across the top. Its simple design balances out that busy print, and it’s just big enough for all your essentials.
This Ted Baker tote is a clever cheat: it’s covered in a sequin print, but not actually encrusted with them. The rainbow mix of colour looks like an underwater jewellery box, guaranteed to make people look twice. Especially when everyone else is carrying a plain cotton tote that they picked up for free somewhere.
Marc by Marc Jacobs is riding the wave of quirky accessories. First it was his plush phone cases, and now tote bags are getting the same treatment. This graphic bulldog print, on a psychedelic cityscape background, is our pick.
This cat print shopper from NW3 by Hobbs might look like it was designed for older generations to tote their shopping in, but style it the right way and it could lift your entire look. Just keep kitsch to a minimum where the rest of your accessories are concerned.