Breathtaking Bora Aksu AW 17/18 – in memory of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

Once again, London Fashion Week is upon us and time to reveal some new trends for Autumn/Winter 17/18 and shows I had a chance to attend.

Bora Aksu is a London based Turkish designer, showing at London Fashion Week already since 2003. Having a recognisable style and distinct signature, his collections of clothes are flowy and have a romantic feel about them, while not missing the darker twist of intrigue and seduction. Having won the Newgen award several times, he remains on the official LFW schedule.

For his Autumn/Winter 17/18 collection Bora Aksu has gained inspiration from the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. He has been particularly infatuated with the extraordinary Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of the Maharaja Duleep Singh.

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Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was one of the most stalwart and prominent figures of the early feminist movement, bold and fearless as she marched alongside Emmeline Pankhurst in protest outside parliament, refused to pay her taxes until women got the vote and threw herself in front of the Prime Minister´s car. She later became the president of the Suffragette Fellowship. Today it is strange to think that less than 100 years ago women in England were not allowed to vote, as the bill was passed in November 2018.

Bora Aksu´s clothes reflect the contrasts of Princess Sophia´ s life. The light pastel shades of lilac, baby blues and powder pinks are contrasted by thick black embroideries and monochrome dresses. The flat hats set the tone of the era.
The shirts´ collars, cuffs and ribbons bear hand embroidered words in pale shades, sending strong messages.

Utterly lovely collection with many pieces I am looking forward to be wearing myself.

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Oksana Tandit show collaboration

Meanwhile in Estonia…

While the nights are slowly getting darker and longer, Estonian designer Oksana Tandit has been thinking about the midsummer “White Nights”, presenting her gorgeous new same-titled resort collection.
The créme de la créme of Tallinn fashion crew was transported nearly 100km out of town to the historical Vihula Manor. The show was accompanied by a gourmet dinner along orchestral music from internationally well known musician Andres Mustonen and his orchestra.

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For her latest show Oksana was inspired by symbiosis between nature, fashion and music. The collection paints a picture of a weekend escape from the busy everyday life to relax and rejuvenate in the countryside. Soft feminine silhouettes, luxurious materials from cashmere to silk come in pastel shades inspired by nature. Inherent to her signature style, a lot of attention is paid to the details and femininity is skillfully joined with masculine elements.

Riina O has collaborated with Oksana Tandit over a few recent years and it has been a true pleasure to do so. Our collections seem to telepathically speak the same language, without having to coordinate the creation process before it is finalised. Riina O latest collection happened to similarly wander out of town in search for the inspiration, heading for the desert instead.

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Angel Chen´s Chinese fairy tale

Angel Chen was named as “Ones to Watch” by Fashion Scout in 2015. Her latest collection based on ancient book “Shan Hai Jin”, a historic text depicting various stories of monsters from land and sea, truly proved the statement to be true.

The audience is held in suspense even before the start of the show, with blinking lights and tension in the air increasing by each second. The show opens with the abundance of sparkle, the collection coming across as strong and colourful. It florishes in expressionism and experimental avant garde, while retaining its wearable qualities. Angel combines Chinese heritage with craft innovation, referencing iconic symbols and applying voluminous embroidery to the everyday fashion items. The level of detail in the embroidery is rather outstanding.
The multifunctional pieces are rather unisex, modeled by both female and male models and available in selection of sizes. The conflict is emphasized by male models styled to wear flared skirts with hoodies as the macho symbol.
Rich sparkle transforms into ruffle embellishments and into large selection of denim pieces. The final touch is added by edgy hair and make-up that really benefits to the final look.

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Photos by: Krish Nagari

Looking at her collection, there are several pieces I would wear instantly, oversized jackets with embroidery on the back, being one of my favourites.

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Image by: Angel Chen Studio

 

3-D Shape experiments at LFW

London Fashion Week started off with the Swedish School of Textiles Graduate Show. A model emerged from underneath the draperies decorating the wall, wrapping it around like a dress and starting to walk off on to the catwalk.

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Surprising with rather large 3-dimensional designs in unexpected fabrics and shapes the graduates´ collections offered an  experimental and occasionally rather amusing catwalk experience. Contrasting itself with general tendencies of London Fashion Week catwalk, that tends to be rather wearable and commercial, these pieces of art offered a fresh approach to the vision of the future, inherent to fresh minds of students, who can dream freely, without the need to worry yet how to sell and commercialise their works. Suitable to display rather in a gallery exhibition rather than worn on the busy streets, the sculptural shapes kept an open mind for new experiments.

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Have to admit though, after a while the abundance of such avant garde started to run a bit low on innovation, but was finished off by a strong colour explosion.

I had a chance to meet one of the graduates, Estonian girl Evelin Kägo. Being my compatriot it was exciting to find out how did she end up there.
Evelin earned her textile design degree back in Estonia and interned with Iris van Herpen afterwards. Having now graduated from Swedish School of Textiles Fashion MA, she is heading to live and work in Mexico to establish her own brand from there. Rather interesting, I should say! Looking to see what will follow…
Unique to her graduate work is the pure colour geometrical patterns on machine knitted material and semi-transparent monofilament fabric, which is really eye-popping and creates a wonderful visual effect. Oversized fabrics experiment with 3-D, space and movement. Mixing together different layers and concentrating on their visual merging effect in order to create constantly changing surfaces.

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Obsessed with knitwear, she would like to continue in that direction, perhaps just making her future pieces slightly more wearable.

LFW Ashley Isham show

Ashley Isham is a London based designer, originally from Singapore, who has been showing at LFW every season from the year 2000. His rather dramatic and colourful collections always manage to make an impression!

Ashley´s latest masterpiece got inspired by Russian-born young artist Igor Skaletsky, who creates provoking paintings mixing classical art with contemporary themes. He freely manipulates the recognizable images from high art, giving them his own modern interpretation. The contrast between high and low and the resulting overall impression that they create put together, is what offers the most interest. Religious iconography, pop culture, animals anatomy and tattoo images all blend in into quite intriguing results.

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Influenced by this, Ashley Isham´s collection ranges from dark toned daywear to casual outerwear to spectacular evening gowns. It is the parade of colourful birds of paradise, stream of frills and dramatic looks, topped off with shiny iridescent men´s tracksuit. A little bit over the top (quite literally in case of the headwear), but just enough for the grand impression, just like Igor Skaletsky´s paintings.

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Men´s golden and iridescent shoes were provided by  Luke Grant-Muller.
If you´d like a pair, make sure to use the discount code: R1 to get £50 off!

 

LFW Fyodor Golan show

Fyodor Golan is a London design duo known for their vibrant clours, eclectic cuts, unexpected shapes infusing sportswear aesthetics to modern luxury womenswear  and playing with kitch themes, while exploring contrasts.
For example last year they had a set-up at the Selfridges, expressing well their playfullness and joy for life.

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Their latest show at London Fashion Week was no exception to that. Based around the idea of comparing high and low culture, such as Botticelli´s “Birth of Venus” and Coca-Cola imagery, just to name a few. Colours were bright, sometimes even neon or sparkling with Swarowski crystals, balanced out with a few darker hues. Very interesting technique was combinig not only high and low cultural ideas, but also translating the same concept into fabrics, contrasting luxurious velvet with trashy looking fraying edged fabric finish.
Fyodor Golan´s colourful and playful approach is surely original next to more uniformly “wearable” designers´ works.

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My new total favorite model Yana Dobroliubova from Moscow expressed the edginess of the collection really well.
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Shiny gold and silver brogue shoes were added by my good friend footwear designer Luke Grant-Muller.

If you are interested in getting a pair, here´s a discount code: R1 to get £50 off!

Matthew Miller show collaboration

London Collections Men is in full swing and this season we had an amazing opportunity to do a show collaboration with London-based designer Matthew Miller.
He has previously referred to the freedom of speech being the last authentic art form and has used this medium in his collections, turning the wearer of his clothes into a walking piece of Socialist Youth art that gains more value and relevance with every mark it picks up, adding user-generated worth with wearing.
I quite like this idea of item becoming more valuable with memories gained along the way. This also applies to leather gloves that form to the shape of the wearers hands with wear, becoming their own and one of a kind.

Matthew Miller´s collection for AW16 is mainly inspired by “Nouveau Riche” and Caravaggio´s painting of “David and Goliath”, with details of oil on canvas draped around the models. His clothes adhere to classical silhouettes, adding modern touch and utilitarian details. Men´s clothes were elegantly mixed with rather masculine-looking women´s ensembles. I personally really loved the whole collection.

Riina O men´s  and women´s gloves added the final touch to the looks.

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View Riina O show collaboration with Matthew Miller in full here.