Marques'Almeida Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2016 London
Winning the LVMH Young Fashion Designer prize can be a daunting label for some designers. Editors and buyers almost expect you to graduate to the adult's table overnight: a standalone venue, mega production, and plenty of dazzle become pre-requisites. "I don't know, surprise me," as they say. Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida knew better than to succumb to such pressures. Spring/Summer 16 saw a return to the in-house ethos that captured the imagination of their global audience in the first place.
The sound of singer/songwriter Fiona Apple served as the backdrop for the collection; the design duo aimed to explore a more romantic notion of their previously Acid-ridden girl. The disused warehouse space with its dilapidated walls bring to mind an artist enclave where today's girl would go to escape. The tortured lyricism echoed in the see-through bias cut drapes, and languid ruffles also projected visions of the late young prodigy, Francesca Woodman; fragility was at once inviting and equally tragic.
The use of denim was, in fact, kept to a minimum, a firm gesture to dispel any notions of being a one trick pony. Further exploration of the tormented artist central theme brought fresh silhouettes and textures. Floral brocades, disintegrated floor length gowns, and 80s maxi linen trench coats were amongst the newness delivered today. This season also saw the debut of the Marques Almeida bag, a boxy medium-sized handbag in waxy dark chocolate brown.
Even as the signature over-dyed denim took a back seat, the label's aesthetic remained articulate. Instinctive touches, such as leaving the hems undone or pushing a ruffle idea to a point of absurdity, embody Almeida's defining anarchic streak. Yet, this rebellion is not borne by any single individual. If previous themes around Hotel Chelsea were anything to go by, there is a communal spirit to Almeida's clothing that leaves no room for self-serving egocentricities. It is rightly so that in the aftermath of a milestone achievement like the LVMH prize that Marques Almeida is all about keeping it real.