An Homage to Europe’s First Feminist Writer at Bora Aksu Fall/Winter 22 – by Aybuke Barkcin

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Known for finding inspirations in strong female personas, Bora Aksu’s most recent fall winter 22 collection was an homage to Christine de Pizan, the 14th century Italian writer, poet and historian whose work is amongst the first in Europe to advocate women’s equality. Taking his viewers to a 19th century church, the line-up started with midi dresses in beautiful shades of blue, which immediately brought to mind the paintings of Pizan, as she was often painted wearing dark blue over gowns.

Like beautifully dressed dolls, the models were adorned with taffeta and tulle dresses decorated with baby collars, ruffled sleeves, broderie anglaise laces, ribbons and delicate embroideries… emphasising the elements of romanticism and innocence that are always displayed in Aksu’s work. But the collection also didn’t shy away from contrasting the elegance with a bit of rebellion and grunge that was present in the laced-up boots, smudged eye make-up, berets and tailored coats… staging a tougher attitude.

As one look came after the other, the designs felt more and more experimental, deconstructed even, there was an aura of freedom and carelessness in the garments towards the end. Instead of using newly produced fabrics, Aksu created most of his looks with upcycled fabrics, challenging the viewers to see that beauty comes in many forms.

“We wanted to take Christine and bring her into the 1990s, I felt there was a parallel with the strength and freedom of the ’90s woman, and that attitude where you don’t really care what society thinks of you. We took that early Renaissance look and toughened it up a little bit.” Aksu expressed in an interview with Vogue.

Bora Aksu’s designs remind me of an interview trend forecaster and educator Li Edelkoort had with the Guardian during the beginning of the pandemic. Sharing her reflections on how the pandemic may change the fashion industry, she expressed that there will be “a need for romantic dresses – slightly high-waisted” and “a need for volume.” After living with the pandemic for 2 years, it is safe to say that she was right in her projections.

Today, people desire romanticism more than ever, to get lost in voluminous dresses, be adorned with beguiling colours… and for those who want to escape in innocent fantasies, Bora Aksu’s designs may be the right brand to indulge yourself in.


Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: