Representing the creative future

Spread across the table in front of Harry Pontefract is a selection of photographs of middle-aged women, each varying in size and disposition and erotically posing nude in an assortment of beige living rooms. These snapshots of suburban sexuality, which Pontefract found in a shoebox at a Surrey car boot sale, evoked the Sheffield-born designer’s exploration the nuances of sex, taste, and nostalgia in his recent graduate collection, particularly visible through his use of nude tights. Pontefract is obsessed by tights, finding their grannyish association, second-skin nature and lifespan that culminates in sagging both fascinating and titillating. Their manipulation under his hands is almost grotesquely impactful – thus, he was selected to open the Central Saint Martins MA show at London Fashion Week, and for the audience, it was immediately visible that Pontefract was seeking to subvert codes of sartorial conservatism. His clothes cover up bodies, yet are collaged from seemingly naughtier ingredients: silk slips, garters, brassieres, cheap handbags, and, of course, 10 denier tights that are layered, patchworked and displaced, styled as if they are falling from the bodies that wear them.