In a video for Document, the designer unpacks the warped archetypes at the center of ‘Engine Room’

Among Men’s Fashion Week’s most anticipated events was undoubtedly Charles Jeffrey Loverboy’s Milan debut, and the designer’s post-pandemic return to the runway. Known for his immense reservoir of creative energy—that has previously taken form as a 1920s-inspired cabaret, complete with crashed chandeliers and poetry-filled bathtubs—eyes were on Jeffrey, as we eagerly awaited to discover how his innovative practice would translate in a city best-known for its commercial fashion giants.

Unsurprisingly, the show was a feat, as the designer managed to bottle up the artistic zest of London. Engine Room was inspired by Jeffrey’s hometown of Glasgow, and John Byrne’s 1987 work The Slab Boys Trilogy. The collection presented a medley of characters, opening with “the workers,” who wore stamped potato sack garments, carried lanterns, and charcoal-stained faces. They were followed by “posers,” who donned tartan-patterned suits in vibrant primary colors. “The snakes” closed the show, adorned in newspaper-printed looks, and pieces that one could argue demanded the air and attention of every room they entered. Each archetype represented a tier that was its own commentary on social status, using costuming tropes and literary nods to critique the reality of social and political hierarchy.

Ahead of the show, Document Journal joined Jeffrey to unpack the inspiration behind his latest collection, and his love for the energy of Milan.