Friday, 15 September 2017

New Romantic: Bora Aksu's Otherworldly Collection Inspired by Turkish Aristocrat & Artist Mihri Müşfik Hanım

 A long gown in deep red and black that evokes the designer's inspiration for the collection, Turkish noblewoman and artist Lady Mihri Musfik Hanim. Photgraph by Elli Ioannou. Cover picture by Kseniya Segina
One of the standout collections of London Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2018 was Bora Aksu's romantic collection. Full of voluminous gowns with swinging, ruffled skirts in chiffon and tulle, the long-haired maidens walking the runway, crowned with sparkling, beaded coronets, reflected his inspiration from the life of Mihri Müşfik Hanım, aristocrat and artist, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Elli Ioannou & Kseniya Segina

An Alice figure in pink.
Photo: Elli Ioannou
BORA Aksu's latest collection also had an Alice in Wonderland flavour with its combination of crowns and rich and fluid fabrics. There was even an Alice-like figure wearing diaphanous pale pink chiffon dress with an apron and a ruffle, finished with white, beribboned sneakers and the unlikely coronet. A deep colour palette of red and blue offset with swathes of pastel reflected the designer's inspiration, drawing on the life of Lady Mihri Musfik Hanim, a Turkish noblewoman and artist. She was the first contemporary female artist to study painting and was recognized especially for her portraits.
In recalling her, Bora Aksu has designed gloves and used traditional Turkish materials in the collection.

As an artist, Bora Aksu found Mihri Musfik Hanim's life fascinating. She left the affluence of her family behind to immerse herself amid the working class of her country. Yet she left to live in Italy and Paris, even having an affair with the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio. Through his connections, she painted a portrait of the pope as well as restoring ancient frescoes. Bora Aksu's collection is full of contrasts like the artist's life, with bold patterns of polka dots contrasting with stripes and floating, ruffled skirts in tulle. Echoes of Victoriana are there with high collars and ribbons yet undercut by some asymmetrical patterns worn with the sporty sneakers. Bora Aksu manages to create opulent pieces that seem to suggest another time and another age, but are still very wearable now.

Ruffles & flowing skirts with a coronet.
Photo: Kseniya Segina
Bora Aksu is a London based Turkish designer who graduated from Central St Martin’s with an MA in 2002. His work was soon noticed and praised and he had his debut off- schedule show the next year. This collection led to him  receiving the prestigious New Generation award from the British Fashion Council ~ which he continued to win for the following four years.

As the designer has shown consistently at London Fashion Week, he has developed a distinctive signature that is both deeply romantic combined with a strong, quirky vision that suggests a darker world. His designs seem more like couture pieces than ready-to-wear and are worn by many actresses and singers inlcuding Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller and Paloma Faith. In 2013, Bora Aksu was named designer of the year at the Elle Style Awards in Turkey and he has continued to expand his work by collaborating with international brands.

 Tap on pictures for full-screen slideshow
A Little Red Riding hood in Venetian Red chiffon suggestive of the artist's 19th Century origins in Ottoman Turkey.
Photo: Elli Ioannou
Diaphonous in a symphony of blue with a leaf design like drawing, this piece shows Bora Aksu's affinity with couture.
Photo: Kseniya Segina

Contrasting stripes and a long bow evoke another age that could be from the Edwardian Ottoman era.
Photo: Kseniya Segina


Long, flowing gown with a high neck and fine, pastel stripes that has an element of Victorian, yet is still contemporary.
Photo: Kseniya Segina

Fine stripes and culottes with a carona and transparent gloves.
Photo:Kseniya Segina
 
Finale of Bora Aksu show in London.
Photo: Kseniya Segina












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