Originators of the current raw denim trend, Marques’ Almeida sought to expand their vocabulary this season. After a meteoric rise that included a capsule collection with Topshop, the duo aims to establish their next steps. Heady images of the grungy kids of Hotel Chelsea turned Art-world royalty from previous collections are still fresh in the minds of its most loyal followers, but today was a true test of the brand’s longevity.
Bjork’s “Army of Me” set the show off to a good start. Punchy red opening ensembles signaled little hesitation to embrace the trending colour (also seen on the runways of Thomas Tait and JW Anderson). The girl remained familiar – with her out-of-bed locks and bleeding mascara she was still making her way back from a legendary party from the night before, at the break of dawn. Deconstructed denim, the ultimate preserve of the brand, received a more aggressive treatment. Pre-made patterns were draped on the bias, defying the natural grain of the fabrics. Clip buttons contoured the denim trousers giving a more-than-snug fit. Silhouettes were more varied; balancing structure with more fluid drapes while primary-coloured solid ribbed kaftans imbued a new sense of sophistication.
The general wardrobe upgrade reflected the girl’s expanding social circles as she develops a taste of ethnic curiosities. It was Frida Kahlo meets Christian Lacroix on acid. Rich brocades with gold lamé threads were dyed in psychedelic tones. Opulent clash of exotic fabrics and crystal beading contrasted the cavalier attitude of the models, which the designers likened to the off-duty ease with which these girls fleet between the studios of Juergen Teller and Ryan McGinley. A new focus on occasion wear was a testament to sharpening business acumen, sculpting staple denim into one-of-a-kind party dresses. The nod to '90s also took a different spin, with barely-there diamante swatches under silk organza. Of the many options, the crushed metallic jacket in look 30 deserves special mention. Safe to say every other It girl will start pairing their indigo denim with a statement metallic accent.
Marques’ Almeida proved yet again that the denim story is just a gateway into their alluring world. Their evocative brand story provides plenty of capital to expand on risks as seen today on the runway – and deservedly so, they are being generously rewarded.