Cheap Monday: House On Fire

Cheap Monday’s Incendiary Fall 2015 Show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Stockholm.

Of all the shows I saw at Fashion Week, Stockholm, Cheap Monday was the wildest. To say I loved it would be like saying I quite like breathing air. It was essential. 

Tall, slender models strode out through walls of fire, their charred faces glistening in the orange light as flames licked at their stout boots. Cheap Monday seem to have a knack for appearing to put their models in harm’s way: last year’s Spring/Summer 15 Show had them balanced precariously on precipitous platforms, stepping gingerly along a narrow shelf between two huge swimming pools. One feared for them, especially the male models, who had a glint of defiance and dread in their eyes. Thankfully the tension was broken later as they all jumped or flat-out pushed each other in, laughing with glee.

I was reminded, quite forcibly, to live NOW.

This show was no different in the danger stakes, with flames appearing to lap at the dragging shirttails of the chisel-faced crew. Yet it was an altogether more sombre affair, with these reed-like mannequins, stomping through slush and snow to bring their fiery passion to the assembled masses. Military beats and soldier tales sung in young unbroken voices made the heart beat faster. If I could only find the name of that song, I’d be a happy recruit: “They took away my TV and had me doing RT..” or something like that. I was reminded of the plight of child soldiers in parts of Africa. I was reminded how dangerous the world can be. I was reminded, quite forcibly, to live NOW.

I’ve always treasured my Cheap Monday jeans, especially the tightest, the black ones, which the hot guy at the store in Stockholm encouraged me to buy as small as if they’d never fit, then cantilever myself in and never take off for, like, weeks. I followed some of his advice, wishing to keep my friends and neighbours close and happy, and they’ve been my hip-whittling go-tos ever since, even on days when I’ve eaten too much vegan chocolate pie. At least a girl can look at them, right?

But cool East London and SoHo hipsters beware. This is not a look to woo the record label to the showcase of your double-barrelled indie band, foppish hair just so and requisite girl bassist in place. Try that stuff on All Soul’s Eve, in a graveyard filled with the Underworld’s most beautiful X-Rays, and you’ll know what I mean. Cool is for kindergarten.

No, as I stood in the photographers’ pit in the snow, shivering before the onslaught, I eagerly grabbed the proffered cup of green tea as a hand warmer, wished I’d brought my gloves and hat, remembered my cosy jacket locked in my suitcase, probably even wanted a kitten, for all I know… Then BANG!Cheap Monday: House On Fire - leather

The strange feeling that, come the apocalypse, at least you’ll be cozy, did nothing to alleviate the glorious sense of menace.

A whirl of tough leather, canvas and, of course, denim, softened with what looked like mohair, brushed cotton and even teddy fur, flared up. Soulful and icy at once, the models stood glowering, cocooned in plaids and leather dungaree skirts, torn threads and crop tops in the snow. The strange feeling that, come the apocalypse, at least you’ll be cozy, did nothing to alleviate the glorious sense of menace.

Guys, girls, it didn’t matter who wore the platforms and who had hair braids. These were the feral kids who would inherit the earth and fight you for a crumb of sustenance or a raven feather to hang from their ear. Best be among them. I’m shredding my wardrobe now.

And to end it all, a group of sweet-faced girls sang to us, accompanied by their cellphones. So very tomorrow.

Cheap Monday: House On Fire - musicians

Sweet-Faced Singers With Cellphones, Fresh From The Fray.

Cheap Monday created a dystopian world gone mad, where clothes are ripped and patched and hang off gaunt figures, where hollow-eyed waifs stare relentlessly, daring you to mention trends and Fall fabrics and celebrity endorsements. “Say that again, I double dare ya,” to paraphrase Samuel L. J. in Pulp Fiction. Divergence is a Thing and The Hunger Games is just some chichi cafe at the end of the world.

Cheap Monday. Wear These Clothes. There’s no time for anything else.

Cheap Monday: House On Fire - dressCheap Monday: House On Fire - hatCheap Monday: House On Fire - suitCheap Monday: House On Fire - leather dress

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Photography © Dear Velvet