One of the lovely things about the three fashion weeks in Europe is that they have access to some incredibly awesome and inspiring buildings in which to stage their presentations. One does not necessarily need to confine one’s show to the basic stages at Somerset House (though even those are quite nice). There are plenty of opulent and historic venues willing to host shows during London Fashion Week. So why then, with so many potential lovely places from which to choose, Roksanda Ilincic chose an office setting with fluorescent lighting is rather puzzling. I rather doubt budgets had anything to do with it, but more the general aesthetic she is trying to create.
Perhaps the location, and the rather pedestrian lighting, was a way of emphasizing just how incredibly bright the colors of this collection are. We always expect vibrancy from this line, so in many ways eye popping color really isn’t out of the ordinary. What the designer has done this season, however, is find a way to make pastels just as loud, just as bright, and just as exciting as the jewel tones that dominated her previous collections. Pretty pink, baby blues, and soft greens sound like an almost pastoral palette. There’s nothing remotely calm about this collection, though. These are colors that demand to be notices, even when walking between a stable full of cubicles.
Roksanda takes color blocking in a whole new direction. Rather than simply juxtaposing flat panels of contrast against each other, she makes frequent use of half circles, cuts panels along unexpected diagonals, and surprises with folds that reveal opposite colors with interesting turn downs. The silhouettes are largely structured, a bit over sized in places and perhaps even a bit boxy from time to time. Still, the lines manage to stay rather distinct and as she moves from solids into prints for the last few looks the silhouettes also get surprisingly trim.
I guess the ultimate question is whether one could actually wear the clothes in the environment in which they were presented. One would answer in the affirmative for a surprising number of the looks. Get past the initial shock of the color and these looks make sense. There are jumpers, A-line dresses, tunic tops over nicely pleated pants, and even a very sharp looking navy blazer with gently rounded shoulders. The only potential negative is if one works among a group of people who are accustomed to sleeping at their desks. No snoozing is going to happen with one of these ensembles shouting as they go down the aisles.
Work wardrobes around the world could use a little bit of shaking up, in my opinion, and perhaps Roksanda Ilincic is providing us the basis and the means for doing just that. One thing’s for sure, wearing one of these pieces to work is bound to get one noticed. Hope you’re doing a good job!
Photo credit: Umberto Fratini