Ever since I first discovered Lako Bukia's collection on the catwalk, two seasons ago, I have been a keen follower of her work and have tremendously enjoyed the presentations of her distinct designs. So, I was very eager to see the unveiling of her Autumn/Winter 2012 collection at London Fashion Week.
View my images from the show at Lionheart Magazine.
Before the show began, I decided to take a peak backstage and see the production being put together, where already a crowd of journalists and photographers had descended, snapping away with their cameras and tapping their pencils on their notebooks. An overcrowded room doesn't half make for a clammy atmosphere, so the arrival of jugs of water and glasses, was a welcome offering.
Rehydrated, I meandered through the crush of press, seizing some shots of the models being plucked and primed, ready to take on the catwalk. Hair was firmly swept up into a rigid high ponytail, secured with a metallic barrel accessory, and together with the fierce fabricated eyebrows, resulted in an explicit space age-y like or sci-fi-ey manifestation. With time being an unforgiving adversary, make-up artists and hair stylists often have to work together, on one model, at the same time. It was no different here, and I admired how organized and calm they appeared to be. Even the designer herself appeared to be content with the process thus far, though when I mentioned to Lako that she looked relaxed, she laughed and said, 'I'm really not, I'm very nervous!' I wished her luck and she told me to expect something different - a surprise on the catwalk. I was intrigued, to say the least!
A buzz of animated chatter filled the show space as we took our seats, and I overheard several guests enthuse about the designer's past collections. Anticipation for the show to commence was clear. But just when I thought the time had come, at least a dozen extra guests rushed in and we were asked to 'budge up' and make space. Suffice to say, there was no room to move and my view was partly obscured by the tall folk I was most inconveniently sandwiched between. Of course, they had lengthy branches and top-notch professional dSLR cameras too, so my camera and I were instantly made redundant. Still, I braced myself for a shiny show and hoped to grab a few decent shots.
The audience shushed as the house lights dimmed and the flood lights breathed their shocking bright light. On to the black and argent backdrop and runway, gently traipsed along a fierce looking model, sheathed in a silver gown with a flowing train - a sight that summoned a union of captivated reconnaissance from the audience and thus began a song of clicking and flashing and oohing and aahing. Next, emerged a striking model adorning a long silvery pencil skirt, paired with a long sleeved chiffon blouse, baring triangular shards of leather. Immediately I was taken back to Lako Bukia's Autumn/Winter 2011 show, where the use of those opposing fabrics was characteristic of that collection. Had Lako reverted back to her original inspirations, I wondered excitedly.
Like her Autumn/Winter 2011 collection, Lako Bukia's 2012 collection has been inspired by a common Georgian belief, that misfortune awaits one that looks into a broken mirror, together with her experiences within the fashion industry; a cut-throat menacing world, which she has honed the strength to survive and succeed.
These qualities translated to the use of juxtaposing fabrics; sheer, delicate and strong, complex construction techniques and signature silhouettes. The broken glass motif featured on many a piece in the collection, on jacket sleeves, midi pencil skirts and skinny trousers. The advent of the skater skirt matched with the long-sleeved chiffon blouse, with the silver insert and structured collar, brought with it the stamp of Bukia's signature style and one of my favourite outfits in the collection. This was followed by a variant of skater dresses in chiffon, shirts in leather and shirts and jackets in what appeared to be lambs wool (or a similar looking fabric). As always, the collection was accompanied by the designer's very own bespoke shoe selection. The heels especially, deserved the mutual admiration of the crowd; a stack of acicular shapes created a mesmerizing display as the models strutted over the catwalk.
With elongated appendages reaching out in front of me, I was almost robbed of the sight of the finale approaching. Lako Bukia consistently impresses with her ultimate offerings on the catwalk, so missing it would be a damn shame. This time, we were rewarded with the presentation of a stunning chiffon gown, long-sleeved with a sheer top, embellished with silver shards resembling a shattered mirror and a lavishly layered skirt which, swept elegantly over the catwalk as the model proudly sauntered across towards the photographers' pit.
Then, Bang! And my heart leapt to safety. But alas, we were all quite safe I realised, as with it, the startling sound serendipitously released a shower of confetti and it suddenly occurred to me that, that was the surprise. I must confess, I loved it; it brought with it, a real fun element to the show and suggested the same for the collection.
With her Autumn/Winter collection Broken Mirrors, Lako Bukia delivers a wardrobe for strong women, women who aren't afraid to face their fears or the challenges that come their way. They are aware of life's complexities and know they must and will conquer harsh situations and overcome bleak times. This is intrinsically reflective (excuse the pun) in Lako Bukia's latest designs and the designer herself. What her Autumn/Winter collection conveys, is that she is far more confident about her ideas and in her exceptional abilities as a designer. I believe Lako Bukia is fast on her way to triumphing within the commercial market, and without compromising her edgy, Georgian inspired and avant garde foundations.
Collection styled by Claudia Behnke