“Andrew Groves’ MA graduation collection from Central Saint Martins in 1997 was called Ordinary Madness and was inspired by turn-of-the-century drawings by the mentally ill. There were pieces studded with four-inch nails whose points projected outwards from the garments and a skirt covered in two thousand dressmakers’ pins. Groves’ first runway presentation after graduation, his Spring–Summer 1998 collection, was called Status? and was based on the idea of disease, specifically on the internal decay of a society consumed with visual images of external perfection epitomised by the beauty of the supermodel. It featured 1980s shoulder lines and complicated thread work to simulate decay. Groves said, ‘I wanted to show what was inside that was eating the clothes away’.
The narrative of Groves’ show was based on the idea of women who were beamed down from outer space and looked like perfect, untouchable mannequins but who were in fact rotting inside: the clothes were deconstructed, representing decay and disease. As a final gesture, a model opened her cotton wadding jacket to release a swarm of five hundred flies over the fashion journalists seated in the front row, causing horror and outrage. ‘Flies trapped inside a Jacket’ contained within it the disturbing idea that the flies were feeding on the model.”