Ashley Williams heralds the return of grandad chic. Cardigans, pullovers, socks with sandals, a paper and a cup of tea is more than enough excitement for this season. Always managing to sum up the mood of the moment in her slogans like "don’t know, don’t care" and our personal favourite, "misery", this season Ashley’s mood was "retired, and loving it".
Reminiscent of Jenny Joseph’s poem "Warning" with the famous line "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple / With a red hat which doesn’t go / And doesn’t suit me / And make up for the sobriety of my youth / And learn to spit", Ashley’s retirement home was full of rebels with punk hair standing on end, inspired by those cute little troll dolls everyone had in the early '90s and kept in place by Ashley’s now signature sparkly hair clips which this season read "VIRGIN", "CRAZY" and "WITCH".
Actress Bria Vinaite [pictured middle], who filmmaker Sean Baker cast from Instagram as the wayward Hailey in his 2017 film The Florida Project, opened the show wearing a very spring/summer-appropriate swimming costume with the retirement slogan, a mohair cardigan and a hair clip saying "SAD FUCK". Corduroy trousers, bulky camping-style fleeces and wraparound sunglasses added to the casual OAP look but there was still plenty of room for glamour in sparkly silver dresses, newspaper print princess gowns, and a PVC number offset by a particularly chic socks-and-sandals combination. It was all very bad grandma.
The conversation between two people leaving an Ashley Williams show is always "I really want that shirt", "Yeah I want that shirt too, and also that dress", "Oh yeah I want that dress too. And also that blue top" and on and on until you’ve listed every item on the catwalk. She has the knack of creating immediately desirable collections with the rebel aesthetic that London fashion lives for. We all want to be grandmas in Ashley Williams.