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Inside the mirrored British Fashion Council Showspace at the grand, Neoclassical Somerset House, sheltered from the wet, muggy English September, Turkish designer, Bora Aksu, kicked off London Fashion Week spring/summer 2014 with his tenth London collection.
Inspired by a return to his roots, Aksu reminisced of sweltering summers spent on the Aegean coast. It was a far cry from previous, more sombre collections. Block colors ranging from brilliant whites and pastel blues, to hot fuchsias and yellows, reflected the “passion coming from the rich culture and traditional artistry of Turkey,” as Aksu said. As the whites turned into Mediterranean shades, the Turkish music changed to a stream of Beirut songs, as models confidently walked the runways. It might feel dated playing songs from 2009, but the soundtrack accompanied the pieces seamlessly.
At times the collection felt conflicted between sharp tailoring and Mediterranean drapery: big shoulders, shorts, and bolero jackets walked between long flowing dresses and even Alice in Wonderland-style pinafores. But a unity was created in the feminine delicacy of the pieces, each one mixing texture with lace overlays, mesh, chiffons, and crochet. It was as if the Turks were walking amongst chic London holiday-goers – the merging of Aksu’s Turkish origins and his current London base.
The show invitations were printed with blue Iznik tiles, depicting foliage and illustrated women wearing peter-pan collared dresses, integrating the patterns and structures of the show. Whatever the outcome, it appeared to be a very personal collection and the blue of the traditional evil eye bead, reigned throughout to ward-off evil spirits – an upbeat and romantic start to this season’s London Fashion Week.