Friday, 26 September 2014

Tongue in Cheek

CHEEKLDN is a bright, fun, playful label with a dash of grown up chic thrown into the mix. The brand describes its collections as being about 'the clash of youth and sophistication; of youthfulness and seriousness'. This hybrid reveals itself particularly in the 'ladylike mini suits' (think 50s/60s Chanel), crafted from heart quilted fabric, and trimmed with faux fur. This is not the only area where CHEEKLDN pulls from different eras and inspirations; the oversized gold and bejewelled buttons and hardware hark back to 80s suiting and power dressing, whereas the cute colour palette and slouchy silhouettes counteract this with softness; the varsity style branding, bomber jackets, and tube socks, clearly reference street/sportswear, but again the brand sidesteps being pinned to one style and adds a dose of fun with vivid colours, and alternative fabrics (fur, plastics, fleece, lace). So with so many elements coming together into one look or collection, how does it work and remain cohesive? Well, it just sort of does. CHEEKLDN has a style all of its own and designer and founder Charlotte Yamada has a knack for being able to take multiple influences and weave them into one, solid vision. 

'Ladylike mini suits'

Yamada was educated at Parsons and graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2010. After graduating, she moved to Milan to work at Moschino, 'after having built a design background that includes companies such as New Era, Richard Nicholl and writtenafterweards'. Again, the influence of where she cut her teeth shines through in her work but doesn't overpower it. Yamada decided to launch CHEEKLDN in 2012 after her time at Moschino. Often graduates will launch their own label off the back of the heat they receive at Graduate Fashion Week, but Yamada's decision to work within the industry first shows in the quality of her design work and the strength of her brand.

SS15 collection, 'Plastic', is sleeker than previous seasons, with each look representing just a single colour; banana yellow, bubblegum pink, lime green and so on. The collection focuses, believe it or not, on plastics and is a synthetic dream; a riot of PVC and satin with some 90s denim inspiration thrown in for good measure - more TLC/Tupac than Britney/Justin. Branding is conspicuous as always, quilt stitched across jackets (front, back and arms), and emblazoned upon chunky monochrome braces. SS15 feels sexier than other collections and with that might come a new audience; there is perhaps a tad more skin on show but the choice of model for the lookbook (Siobhan Perry, who has legs. for. days.) definitely provides this new vibe.





'Plastic', SS15. Photographer: Masha Mel, Model: Siobhan Perry @ Premier, Hair: Tomomi Roppongi, Direction: CHEEKLDN

The release of 'Teddy', AW14 was when my love for CHEEKLDN was cemented and the brand firmly planted itself in my conciousness. The sweet colours, the fur coats that don't look like every other fur coat around (finally), the fluffy hearts, the quilted hearts, everything about the collection was perfect and I wanted to magic it straight from the lookbook into my wardrobe. On the subject of owning and buying, CHEEKLDN's stockists are currently in Japan only but they have plans to expand into American and European markets, good news for those of us more used to GBP than JPY.



'Teddy', AW14. Photographer: Masha Mel, Model: Emma @ Models1, Hair & Make-up: Holly Westwood, Direction: CHEEKLDN

Whilst CHEEKLDN clearly already has a fan base in Japan and further into Asia, this September marked their first appearance at London Fashion Week. With those vibrant colours and 3D heart pockets popping up all over my Instagram feed whilst the brand was on show at Somerset House, I don't doubt a British fan base is far behind.