There is always at least one venue at the bi-annual London Fashion Week that strays a little further from the main hub of the event, Somerset House, and insists on testing my time management and cardiac health. This time it was Goldsmiths Hall in The City, host to the catwalk show of designer Francesca Marotta's Autumn/Winter 2012 collection.
After speeding up Fleet Street, sheltering from the sporadic rain, eventually conceding to public transport, which, did little to hurry the commute, I found myself being ushered into the magnificent Goldsmiths Hall. The seats had filled up and I meandered through the rows in an attempt to find a good spot for photo taking. Fortunately, somebody in the photographer's pit took pity on me and invited me to sit with them, giving me the ideal view for watching the catwalk show.
I really love and appreciate it when designers take it upon themselves to create a visual narrative, which they then reveal through a dramatic catwalk walk show, and Francesca Marotta has this medium of story-telling, down to a T. I was lacking a press release, having failed to find a seat, but as the show unveiled, the tale of 'Amore della mia Vita' (Love of my Life) was unquestionably apparent.
To view my photos from the show, visit Lionheart Magazine
Introducing us to the story was a lone, but strong widow in mourning black. Her face shadowed with a delicate lace veil, scattered with scarlet detail; her knees, hugged tightly by a bulbous skirt that refused to let her tread freely - a symbol of Sicilian women, dealing with loss and unable to express themselves freely. This was followed by a revolution of rebellion, bravery and dedication, to the hope that one day, the women of Sicily will be heard and will be free.
Onyx garments, in strong and delicate fabrics; silk, leather, brocade, cashmere, wool and lace commanded the runway. Hints and blocks of cardinal crimson accompanied and complemented an array of outfits in form of polka dots, a silk mini skirt and a sensational two-piece lace ensemble.
The bursts of green, blue and red phosphorescent jewellery by Milko Boyarov, played a significant role in the narrative; illustrating hope for the oppressed women of Sicily and adding a complimenting spark to the collection.
A collective gasp echoed throughout the Gothic arena as the finale approached. A beautiful model, dressed in an all-encompassing, sheer lace gown, fluttered gracefully down the catwalk. Tears of blood streamed down her pale skin, begging our attention and drawing empathy from the crowd.
Francesca Marotta's success as a visual story-teller isn't the only reason she is thus. In fact, there are designers who tell a beautiful story with their clothes, only to forget the buying public. This designer however, doesn't just tell a tale, she also creates wearable collections; luxurious knitwear, delectable evening wear, practical but distinct outerwear and smart chic designs for those who like their wardrobe clean cut and unorthodox. Not easy to achieve, I'm sure, but Francesca manages to do it incredibly well.
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