Five London Fashion Week Collections Feature Duality and Femininity for Fall'18
Updated: Jul 29, 2019
Hila and Kristian Aadnevik
‘The lake of tears is filled with sadness and longing; only true love can break the spell of enslavement and free the most beautiful and pure’, Designers Hila and Kristian Aadnevik Fall 2018 collection was inspired by Swan Lake, which tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse... ‘for us it is about our muse who can be both strong, seductive and free; but also fragile, soft and loving as in Tchaikovsky’s ballet; she is the one and same heroine’. The designers describe how ‘it is about good and evil, romance and tragedy, but more than anything, undying love. The swans were epitomised through the use of light feathers and delicately hand embroidered appliqués on the dresses. Black and white pearl domes mirrored the yin and yang of the collection, light and the dark are contradictory and inseparable in this collection. Silver metal enclose the pearls further illustrating the concept of the confinement found in 'the lake of tears.' The delicate French lace was embellished with black and red hearts, beads, crystals, stars, feathers and flowers, while ethereal tulle gowns sparkle like the stars reflected in the water and light chiffon with swan prints float in the air’.
In the Spring 2018 collection the models participated in an exciting and giddy circus themed show, contrasting with a simple yet dramatic entrance from an opening in a black draped backdrop. Fall 2018, demonstrated a significant shift towards simplicity, the circus has moved on and beguiling temptation took center stage. The collection's concept was enhanced by the soundtrack, the haunting and taunting, 'Little 15’ by Depache Mode, framing a young untouchable temptress on the catwalk. Ominous, tragic and fundamentally predatory. The atmosphere ignited a sense of voyeurism, the observer of youth, innocence and natural beauty. The clothing highlighted revealing and selectively exposed panels. Covering where it touches, and moving away from the body where it does not, revealing to extremes. The silhouettes encouraged the viewer to question the function of clothing, To cover or reveal? The backdrop of the sound-track paired with the sensibilities of the silhouettes may be viewed as woman who has envy of someone who's younger. The younger one in the story hasn't had the experiences of adulthood and is still innocent. The older one in the story might be envious and longs for youthful days...
It's a tenacious and provocative message to acknowledge when linked to fashion and beauty. The threshold between the contrasting tensions to expose and protect, reveal a dichotomy, a division or duality between two opposing intentions, that were discussed with the designers Hila and Kristian Aadnevik:
IRK: Congratulations on your show! I have a few questions for you. The collection is strongly asymmetrical and intensely revealing, with selectively exposed panels. It is very interesting that it covers where it touches and intimately reveals to the extreme. What inspired you?
Kristian Aadnevik: So this collection was based on Swan Lake, so the dark and the strong woman, then you have the softer, more feminine, and it is about all of the layers, about revealing and covering up.
Hila Aadnevik: And the transparency is actually to indicate that she is very strong within herself. She is not scared of voicing her voice, that is her femininity. She is standing strong.
IRK: Also it struck me, the idea of form over function as a contradiction, so it is almost like the limits of where the clothing takes on its role. Which fashion designers or outfits inspired you to push this frontier?
Hila Aadnevik: We don’t get inspired by other fashion designers, we get inspired by life.
Kristian Aadnevik: It can be places, it can be history, like this collection was about Swan Lake, so we try to capture the essence of it. Last season we did about the circus, so we don’t get inspired by other designers, but our own way of developing our techniques and styles in a continuous journey.
Hila Aadnevik: Our Swan Lake had a good ending.
IRK: So do they reflect the fundamentally contradictory times in which we live?
Kristian Aadnevik: You could say so..
Hila Aadnevik: …but we don’t want to be political. Our women are always the same, it is the woman who will stand up for herself, she has her voice, she is strong, she knows what she wants, she has travelled through life, she is feminine and not afraid of showing it. She is full, and that is the woman we wanted to show.
Jiri Kalfar is a Czech based designer pioneers sustainable and eco-friendly fashion celebrating whist celebrating the freedom of the feminine in his collection embodying the return of the queen:
IRK: Congratulations on a fantastic show! Continuing on from the SS18 show, you mention the queen yet again, making a big jump from that show to this.
Jiri Kalfar: The last show was about the bumblebee, the fabulous, sparkling bee. The last collection had a real message, an environmental message. Its tiring if you keep on doing that, it gets you tired to put put out the message, so I just needed an artistic break to be honest, to do what I like in a matter of being visual rather than the message.
IRK: You still mention the environmental message in the press release.
Jiri Kalfur: Yes, because the fabrics are environmental you know, we get everything in Czech, so I know my sources and everything.
IRK: It was a wonderful show and you really made the models shine. They really are such beautiful models you have chosen to open and close the show.
Jiri Kalfar: Alina Baikova is my friend, she has worked for me many, many times and I love her and she is so supportive. Paulina Pořízková was just the right figure and I knew how the show as going to look like and I just needed the right figure to carry it. So I contacted her.
IRK: Wonderful, so what I noticed about it was that you turned it into such a spectacle.
Jiri Kalfar: I am from theatre… and I don’t get to meet many of my customers as what I really do is be closed in the studio to create a collection. For me having a show is to have a show. It is my expression of everything, not just the clothes, I think it is much more than that, it is the venue etc…
The pure joy with which Jiri Kalfar danced down the catwalk at the end, accompanying the fashion models Alina Baikova and Paulina Pořízková was infectious, and the audience were charmed both by his collection as by the experience of the event.
Wrapped, bowed and cozy the models in the Xiaoli fall-winter 2018 were well dressed in duvet inspired dresses and coats to express a boldly exaggerated feminine form. Xiao Li describes how she has been inspired by the ‘way of life and attitude of Los Angeles is really inspirational in the way that there’s a place for everyone, and it is a place everyone can be accepted for who they are. It's a city full of hopes and dreams where everything is possible.’ The duality between practical comfort and distinct design emphasises the functionality and unique form of the designs.
This season's collection of Dr,Pam Hogg was full of excitement, spectacle and drama. The fashion show celebrated the ‘eternal return of the goddess’ whilst embracing the gender fluidity of femininity with the bold use of bright colours, exaggerated headpieces and latex.
This label draws inspiration from ‘forty thieves’, an all-female London crime syndicate who were infamously known for their antics from the 19th to the mid 20th century. By combining this inspiration with elements of the 90’s R&B female hip-hop ‘Video vixen’ starts, the collection plays on sexuality and female empowerment. The evocation of an audacious perspective on fashion led to the designer Essie Buckman receiving the AW19 Merit award, worth £20,000, and combined withe audience electrified by the show secure is sure to ensure a positive future for the designer.
One of the most extraordinary things about London Fashion Week Fall 2018 was the daunting number of shows and rich diversity of fashion shows accompanied by the palpable enthusiasm of the audience. My concern is for the pure number of devices recording the events, resulting in people looking on the screens rather than experiencing first hand the spectacle unfolding before them, remaining unaware of the conceptual depth intended by the designers and their teams. Let's put the devices away and leave the recording to the professionals, and immerse ourselves in experiencing first-hand the unfolding performance.
The most important observation about the above selection of designers and the discussions of the concepts explored in their collections endeavours to empower women to have the option to reveal or conceal, to protect or entice, but ultimately to dress for themselves.