2010 September 20

Runway Reviews: Bora Aksu, Jena.Theo, Thomas Tait

Bora Aksu Spring 2011 Bora Aksu Spring 2011
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(LONDON) Bora Aksu
Turkish designer Bora Aksu was inspired by ants and corsets for Spring 2011. Don't worry, critter-phobes--though the models had giant ant barrettes in their hair and the insects trapped to their wrists, that was as literal as it got; pale tights had black "trails" swirling, but they were bold black lines rather than a too-kitschy parade of tiny ant renderings. In truth, the insect and the corset came together smoothly in concept: the shape of an ant mirrors that of a woman cinched into a corset, all bust and hips and nonexistent waist. Translated into clothes? A bit trickier. Aksu's dress-heavy collection, in a tight color palette of grays, blues and silver, featured plenty of ruffles padding, and draping to fill out the areas in question. The result was a bit messy, and it remains to bee seen whether women want to put voluminous quilted pads on their hips, but Aksu’s conceptual march of ant-women was certainly fun to watch.

Last year's Fashion Fringe winners (hand-picked by Donatella Versace, no less) are no longer the new kids on the block—that would be Jean.Theo's Jenny Holmes and Dimitris Theocharidis, selected by this year’s judge John Galliano on Saturday night, and that’s okay with them. The designers showed a Spring 2011 collection that was a progression from their last-season offerings, particularly in terms of its commercial potential, while staying true to their strength and penchant for dramatic, voluminous drapery. Taking inspiration from India for Spring meant that there were embellished gold touches on their mostly-jersey draped dresses, pants, and tops; the aforementioned commerciality came through in denim, and even a few red carpet-worthy dresses like an architectural pink mini wrapped in gold embroidery trim.

Thomas Tait
Keep your eye out for Thomas Tait. Fresh out of Central Saint Martins (really fresh—Spring 2011 was his debut runway show outside of school), the young Canadian designer presented a clean, modern, seriously chic collection that’s sure to catch the eyes of editors, and soon. Super-fitted long-sleeves tops were cut completely open in the back, but the body-con look stopped there; on the bottom were knee-length, almost A-line style shorts with a half-skirt that wrapped around the back. Tait played with this peek-a-boo, piece-y theme with more apron-style skirts over other skirts and shorts, a coat with an open back, and panels on sharp, almost geometric dresses. Tait was smart to keep the color palette limited to navy, white, and a blush pink; the classic shades didn’t distract from the impeccable construction and tailoring. It’s designers like this that make London Fashion Week so exciting to watch.