Last season, Patrick McDowell merged the world of Marie Antoinette with his own Liverpudlian roots, and for autumn/winter 2023, he reimagined Cinderella going to the football rather than the ball filled with sustainability innovations and regal silhouettes.
McDowell transformed the top floor of The Mills Fabrica into a field of dreams, complete with artificial turf down the catwalk and seating for the show divided into sections for the rival football teams of his hometown, Liverpool and Everton.
This was a collection to put the “femme into football,” explains McDowell in the show notes, as well as redefining the game to further Queer culture in football, with Swarovski jewelled boots, statement ballgowns and football jerseys and shorts embellished with crystals.
McDowell used couture practices to redefine sportswear, “designing free of gender norms, blurring lines between princess and punter,” with fabulous ballgowns in the iconic red of Liverpool, tweed separates, and a skirt made of football shirts with a toggle drawstring waist.
He also introduced several prints, including one created from the dried flowers from his previous catwalk show, football pitch mushrooms and magical raindrops, which adorned oversized puffer coats, long-flowing gowns, duster coats, trousers, and football-inspired shorts. There was also a special Red Aids ribbon print to support McDowell’s ongoing relationship with Positive East, London's leading HIV charity.
Patrick McDowell teams up with Evolved By Nature to highlight sustainable materials
McDowell continues to highlight sustainable practices in his designs, working solely with recycled and sustainable materials, and this season producing four biodegradable leather styles crafted in partnership with biotechnology company Evolved By Nature, including a black puffer jacket, a Cinderella blue jacket, a bow handbag, and a sports bag.
While most wearable leather, including leather alternatives, are coated in polyurethane and other petrochemicals that contain harmful PFAs and toxins, Evolved By Nature has created a first-of-its-kind, naturally-derived, biodegradable leather finish called Activated Silk L1, which replaces PFAs with Activated Silk biotechnology designed from natural silk protein.
This breakthrough, biobased finishing outperforms current finishing products on the market, explains Evolved By Nature, and offers premium leather performance, quality, and durability. It is also easily compatible with all types of full-grain leather, including aniline, semi-aniline, and fully pigmented.
Patrick McDowell continues to make sustainable design practices a priority
In addition, McDowell shares that the prints in the collection were done by Esce-tex in the UK using sustainable printing sources and techniques on fabrics made of Tencel Luxe, while the vintage silk was provided by the Italian mill Taroni and Scottish woven tweed by Harris Tweed Hebrides. McDowell also used Manteco provided by MWool, a material made entirely from recycled wool and is dyed without harmful chemicals, and wadding from Thermore, whose innovative Ecodown is made of 100 percent recycled fibres from post-consumer plastic bottles and is microfiber-free.
As well as being transparent with his use of sustainable materials, each piece was designed and made in London with a low carbon footprint, adds the designer, and will be available on a limited edition, made-to-order basis on his newly designed website.
Commenting on the collection, McDowell said in a statement: "For me, making clothes is a form of storytelling. You can learn a lot about who I am and what is important to me from the clothes I make.
“It's about feeling and looking great without a huge impact on the planet. It's about lifting your head a little higher or feeling like Yes - I can do that thing I thought I couldn't. This collection celebrates that, it's unashamedly me and I'm proud of that because I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of clothes like these."