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As the sun set upon London Fashion Week, Maria Grachgovel sent her spring/summer 2014 collection down the runway. Among the final shows, the sober tones of Grachvogel’s looks reflected the clouds and the rainfall outside the British Fashion Council Showspace. It wasn’t a drab collection, but a soft-focus one, which spoke not of wild parties on the beach, but of summer evenings spent perusing around gallery viewings and at cocktail bars.
Maria Grachvogel has been showing at London Fashion Week since 1995, so this is old hat for her. The mood was relaxed and seemingly effortless. She knows what she is doing, and attracts a celebrity following including Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, and Emma Thompson (who sat front row).
The collection was described in the show notes as “an expression of youthful innocence and creative freedom,” but it read as a mature, highly sophisticated selection of looks, for the affluent, fashion-savvy client. Pieces were liquid and billowing and silk and Egyptian cotton ramie were omnipresent. Garments were sheer making most looks were translucent in the light. Trousers were wide-legged and fluid, and leather T-shirts were buttery and appeared soft and sumptuous as chiffon. Shades were pale aquamarine, peach, khaki, grape, and monochrome, and the collection possessed a tight synergy throughout the impressive 36 looks shown.
The muse for the collection was a young artist, and her indigo brushstrokes and splatters could be seen painted on sheer white organza dresses, transforming the models into living artworks, wrapped in sartorial canvases. The patterns formed by paint splashes recalled fields of dewy summer grasses and ferns. Some models did tread carefully, to avoid tripping over drapings and flowing trains, but these are not dresses for strenuous activity.
Wrapping, draping, and interesting layering of fabrics were utilized – some dresses had large crossover backs and others were accessorised with matching silk scarves, carried on the arms. A trouser-skirt was shown, two legs at the front, and a low flowing train at the back. Models were styled with pinned-back tousled hair and bright tangerine lipstick, which offset the muted tones of the garments. The shoes were heeled sandals in brown and black leather.
It was an ethereal, feminine collection, complemented by the mellifluous tones of singer/songwriters as models floated down the catwalk. Cuts would suit myriad shapes and present a selection of looks for the most sensational occasion: swathes of chiffon for the summer balls.