Barbara Casasola is still, in my mind at least, an emerging designer despite the fact she gave her first runway presentation here in London just last year. Her stocklist is still quite small, and there’s still a shyness both in terms of the collection as well as the designer’s personal demeanor. Understated is the word one will see used to describe Casasola most often, and it is largely appropriate. There’s nothing, nor no one, here to stand up and shout, “Hey, look at me.” Yet, this is a strong collection that should not go ignored.
Casasola weaves a rainbow with this collection, spanning the palette of jewel tones from one end to the other. Brilliant reds, golden orange, subtle greens, and a shimmering silver in place of blues. Fabrics ranged from matte to metallic so as to give each piece and silhouette its best look possible.
Barbara is consistent enough in her designs that she is already developing a trademark look that is tight and fitted on top, sometimes extremely so, and more full and open from the waist down so as to provide an opportunity for motion. There are some exceptions to this look late in the collection where whole dresses cling just tightly enough to the body to make sure they get one’s attention. For the most part, though, this is a collection built on two piece ensembles that give plenty of space for varying body types. Pleated skirts are something Casasola does well and I found myself wishing she had included more of them. As it is, a number of her skirts are rather straight and frequently sheer, per the trend for this season.
If there is a weakness here it comes in the choice of cut outs. While she doesn’t use the technique too often, when she does it feels rather forced and one gets the impression the ensembles would have been better off as two piece sets. One might also question the positioning of a single long skirt toward the end that rides rather low on the hips. This may have just been a fitting issue, though, as it lies very much in opposition to the rest of the collection.
Barbara Casasola is a name one needs to remember. While she is still quite young and still getting her feet set well under her, she is already displaying the kind of talent that bodes good things for the future of British fashion.
Photo credit: Regis Colin Berthelier