The past two seasons, I have missed Bora Aksu's catwalk shows at London Fashion Week, due to it clashing with others. Both times, I have massively regretted not attending, so there was no way I was missing out on the designer's showing of his Autumn/Winter 2012 collection at Somerset House.
It is Henry Darger's 'In the Realms of the Unreal', specifically 'The story of the 'Vivian Girls' that has inspired this new collection. The story follows the struggles of seven young virtuous Christian princesses and their revolt against a tyrannical dynasty, entangled in child slave labour. Fundamentally, the collection is a fusion of the dramatic and antipodean experiences of the young and naïve and the contamination of childhood.
The show commenced with an exploration into the alien and sometimes, absurd characteristics of innocence and secretiveness in childhood, depicted through colour, shape and texture. Delicate, wispy and graceful silks and georgettes in soft candy-floss pink and clay greys, shrouded in elaborate coats, jackets and capes of weighty cottons and wools - a fragile form cocooned in mystery. Cashmere prism knits and crocheted trims hark back to childhood, vintage toys and pretty things - they celebrate warm and soothing memories of childhood and an escape from harsher realities.
"To play, to be happy, and to dream, the right to normal sleep of the night's season, the right to an education, that we may have an equality of opportunity for developing all that are in us, of mind and heart." Henry Darger
I could at this point, delve further into the philosophies behind Bora Aksu's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, but I must emphasise that the true winners here, really are the clothes. The beautiful print and embroidery, the fluid silhouettes, the stunning attention to, and amount of detail on each and every garment; pleats, drapes and pussy-bows are simply, sumptuous and very impressive. Multi-layered and multi-fabric skirts that sway as the models walk, give us a glimpse of neon orange and remind me of childhood sweets, and fluid textures of the delicate garments remind me of the liberating, free of restraint, garments of childhood.
With the departure of gentle colours, comes the explosion of deeper, more vibrant hues, in fuchsia, marmalade, burnt orange, blood red and shimmering ebony. Vivacity and gloom that depict the intense experiences of The Vivian Girls' world of dreams and nightmares; a haunting lullaby of a forlorn childhood portrayed by Bora Aksu's striking garments.
In keeping with the theme of innocence and childhood, hair and make-up was simple but with conspicuous detailing, braided buns, resting at the neck and sinister blue rouge for the lips. Accessories too, were effortless but effective, with eye-catching 'face-lace' and leather clutches and totes.
The collection is inherently, one that inspires romance and aspires to foster the naiveté, trust and spontaneity of the freedom of an ideal childhood.
What I love so much about this collection is not only that every piece appears to be made by painstaking precision and skill or that it is simply beautiful and at times ethereal even, or that it has behind it an incredible story, but, that it is a collection that is entirely wearable. I look forward to seeing Bora Aksu's creations for Autumn/Winter 2012 on the red carpet, where I believe they definitely have a home.
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