Christian Cowan brings London club vibe to New York runway

The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
The Christian Cowan collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Designer Christian Cowan acknowledges the audience after his collection was modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK — Christian Cowan was finding it hard to stand still backstage after his high-energy show on Tuesday, practically jumping up and down in place.

The British designer, at 23 already a favorite of celebs like Lady Gaga and rapper Cardi B, presented a new collection that harked back to his days as a London club kid but also channeled New York-style energy.

His runway was full of neon colors like yellow and green and shocking pink, and styles ranged from midriff-baring cropped sweatsuits to huge tulle dresses with trains. Sequins and feathers were everywhere, and especially watches — on shoe straps, on belts, and in one case, covering a model's face, chest and arms.

"I grew up in my teen years in the club scene and all my friends were these crazy and beautiful creatures," Cowan said backstage, explaining the influence for his show. "I designed for that, and then I moved here and I've been growing a brand and I want to dress people outside of that, I was to dress women across the world. But I always want that DNA of true freedom, and expression and creativity brought through, because I think every woman needs that in their life." Cowan waxed rhapsodic over his adopted city. "I adore it in New York," he said. "I love London, that's my home, but I think the climate here just allows everything to get bigger." He added: "I arrived at such a crazy time politically, such an interesting moment to be moving to the country."

Cowan says he decided to become a designer at age 12. The very first design he actually made, a pink tuxedo, ended up on Lady Gaga, launching his career.

As he grows his brand, Cowan says, he wants to design for a broad spectrum of women.

"I'm designing for a range of women but all who have a love of joy and fun," he said. "So there are sweatsuits for you to wear and feel glamorous in, and these ginormous gowns for a woman to wear on the red carpet. I want that event moment — I had never done that kind of gown and it was a challenge, but I adored it."

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