As the lights go up, we find ourselves invited to the chambers of Romanian Queen Marie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria and muse of Bora Aksu’s latest collection. With a foreign marriage that turned from respect to revulsion, Marie’s love story-gone-wrong is imaginatively embodied by Aksu’s romantic yet somber aesthetic and penchant for juxtaposing rough and fragile textures. Sheer layers of the lightest blue organza embossed with intricate Art Deco patterns over brocade dresses and separates open the show as the models, wearing delicate woven crowns over their cotton-candied hair, exude a femininity that is both gracious and a little awkward in its own right.
Against the light organza ensembles were box jackets from fine printed silk, brocade skirts, and blazers with remarkably detailed knitted lapels – and some even with picturesque knitted lining! In a variety of hot and cold regal hues, that same picturesque Art-Deco print reappears several times in escalating sizes, alluding to Queen Marie’s love for her botanical garden in Balchik and demonstrating Aksu’s eye for opulence through quieter, more subdued detailing. From layered, apron-like dresses clinching the waist to strikingly empowering suits, the collection aptly represents the contradictory structure of the Queen’s position, as well as that of the contemporary woman. As the show unfolds, we get a sense of a queen that has retired to her gardens with all the nobility and tragedy that inevitably come when one is alone but content with one’s own seclusion.
Concluding as the models walk out together, showcasing Bora Aksu’s beautiful tableau in its entirety, the show truly attested to the designer’s artistic sensibility.
- Maria Dimitrova