Dear Shaded Viewers & Diane,
Turkish punk princess Dilara Findikoglu invited us to the gentlemen’s club Sunset Strip on Soho’s Dean Street for SS17 – a place only too appropriate for the designer to present her latest batch of creations. Cinema seats enclosed a stage upon which models would flutter their eyelids amongst a forest of metal poles, the crudeness of the whole affair being reflected in a mirror which covered the opposite wall. In true Findikoglu style the place was a patriarchal paradise she managed to turn upside down; feminine power oozing out of the walls, the models (despite the setting) looked dangerous & not at all like adult entertainment.
The collection took us on a very short journey through time. From Shakespearean England, Findikoglu explores perceptions of the female body throughout the male gaze of history. Or rather, she explores the masculine idea of woman, as men were free to warp perceptions of the female through writing about & acting out certain characteristics at the theatre.
The idea for the show, however, came from a very different piece of clothing. A Turkish woman, Cilem Dogan, was imprisoned for the murder of her abusive husband just last year – he had verbally & physically abused her, as well as trying to sell her into prostitution. At the time of her arrest, her t-shirt read “Dear past, thank you for all the lessons”. She was, then, very unexpectedly released. “It was a really big thing for a women to be released”, Findikoglu explained to me, “because [in the Middle East] it’s usually men who don’t go to prison for raping women – even if they’re seven years old”.
The designer had branded her women with temporary tattoos & her name strewn across various garments. Or rather, she was claiming ownership over her own female body – she is, of course, the most appropriate client for herself.