Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Earlier this week was the Polimoda Fashion Show, held at the beautiful Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, before a crowd of hundreds. The show was packed with creativity and huge – sometimes literally – design ideas. Here are a few of my favourites:
Ryota Sakai, who gained a special mention from the impressive international guest jury, showed incredible skill in creating silk netting, which I can only assume was done completely by hand and over the course of many, many hours. Inspired by the silhouettes of Sumo wrestlers and the conclusion that inside, their bones are no different to those of Sakai himself, this netting technique was used for garments and headpieces alike in an exploration of outer and inner life in its most fundamental form.
Sofia Castaneda’s woven landscapes provided a moment of serenity. The womenswear collection was incredibly delicate yet showed a sense of strength, drawing on Castaneda’s hometown in Mexico with its surrounding mountains and copper mines for inspiration.
Deborah Segun used her illustrations in 2D-to-3D forms to comment on feminine strength and periods. With a great use of colour that I couldn’t separate from her Nigerian origins, and moulds from her own body, Segun’s personal take on gender politics was honest and refreshing.
Speaking of colour, Matteo Bruschi designed an entire collection of menswear in pink. Completely over the top in proportion and embellishment, the giant velvet bows and endless rosettes were a celebration of kitsch on the male form, with total commitment. It took ‘go hard or go home’ into a new frame of reference.
Mirco Arena, in a tie with another designer Federico Cina, won the title of Best Collection for 2016 from the jury. The crowd applauded Arena’s collection for it’s grand sense of creativity – velvet capes, elaborate headpieces and all. It didn’t matter that it was costume-y because it was emotionally moving, as if the Ice King from the north descended onto the Palazzo for a moment, only to display his regal gowns – pins, plastic, and skulls embellishing coats, leather bombers, and transparent garments – and then disappear once more into the night.