London Fashion Week: When Antoni met Alison... the rest is style history

 

Twenty-five years is a long time in fashion. Back in 1987, we jacked our bodies and lived on a prayer. It was also 25 years ago that Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts graduated from Central Saint Martins and founded their own label. Their first offering was a collection of "Be Happy" T-shirts, the cutesy slogans on which swiftly catapulted them to the forefront of youth culture and street cool.

"This time has been like an incredible apprenticeship," they state. "We have loved being 'Antoni & Alison'; we have loved being an independent label. We design from scratch each season, experimenting with the need to find and have 'good ideas', and sometimes using our 'bad' ideas."

The duo's work has since become widely recognisable, after a collaborative stint with Debenhams and a return to the London catwalks last season, with a collection bluntly entitled "Models walking up and down in dresses". Antoni & Alison treads the line between wearable art and conceptual design.

"We know we are a contradiction," they continue. "We're nostalgic for our past 25 years of work, as well as absolutely driven by looking for the new."

And so, to celebrate the launch of their 51st collection – which will open London Fashion Week tomorrow morning – the pair have refurbished their store in London, adding a 'Ye Olde Worlde Super Modern Tearoom'. Later this year, they will open an art space on the premises and give a one-off lecture about their work.

Impressive, given they started out with only £200. So raise your glasses to a London Fashion Week institution, and be grateful we're not still listening to Bon Jovi.

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