Russian designer David Koma likes the ability to mold leather into garments with strong structural integrity. We’ve seen some very interesting and at times playful designs from him over the past two seasons, but for fall/winter 2014 Koma goes much darker, much edgier, and perhaps a little more sexy than where he’s been before.
Where Koma starts is with a number of pieces influenced by the shape and style of a caged corset. Koma takes advantage of the body contouring structure and uses leather straps over brushed cotton to gives garments their body-hugging shape. Along the way, he adds cutouts, different for each piece, that lend some serious sexiness to the work. Without the cutouts, dresses would common off rather frighteningly aggressive.
Fortunately, not everything in the collection is black, though it certainly is heavy in that direction. Light grey pieces at the very front are extremely well done and some are even mild enough that one might get away with them as office daywear, depending on where one works. Koma takes a brief foray into a deep violet that works especially well with his sense of tailoring. A long jacket paired with knee-high open toed boots of the same color is especially striking. Koma is especially gifted at creating pleated folds in his skirts which keeps them from looking so stiff and uninviting.
Where this collection really shines, though, is in the pieces where Koma has created a basket weave pattern with the leather. Here, the designer’s ability to use leather as an architectural took really comes into play, especially with the bodices of his pieces. These are works that are unquestionably tough, yet undeniably beautiful. I think my favorite piece from this part of the collection is again a coat where he uses basket weave on the right side and then counters that on the left by laying the leather out in broad horizontal strips. When he adds panels of cobalt blue, the collection reaches an astonishing apex.
Leather looks aren’t for everyone, of course, and if you are one of those who doesn’t like leather then this definitely isn’t a label you’re likely to find interesting. However, for those who enjoy leather and all it can do, this is an incredible collection one shouldn’t miss.