Studying architecture alongside fashion while growing up in Belgrade, one would be forgiven for thinking that Roksanda Ilincic’s clothes would be defined by strict lines and a sombre palette. However, the London-based designer is famed for her fluid, languid silhouettes and confident use of color, and incorporates echoes of her architectural background into her collections in less obvious ways. For spring/summer 2019, it was the referencing of textures on a series of tapestries by Le Corbusier that nodded to her academic past.
Presented at the Serpentine Pavilion, designed this year by young Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, Roksanda’s latest collection continued to reflect her move away from predominantly after-dark dressing towards everyday wear. With a melancholic soundtrack chosen to chime with today’s challenging times, courtesy of Nina Simone’s rendition of ‘Baltimore’ (Randy Newman’s composition bemoaning the hard times that resulted in a sharp decline in the quality of life in the US city), it was perhaps unsurprising that ease and practicality took center stage over flights of fancy. Deconstructed trenchcoats and oversize blazers were styled over loose shirting and roomy culottes, and there were sporty touches in the form of sweatshirts paired with voluminous maxi skirts. The designer’s choice of footwear also embraced this new practical mood, with sturdy-heeled boots or flat slippers accompanying each look.
Despite the commentary, or indeed as a direct and defiant contrast, Roksanda’s signature elegance was still very much in evidence. There were a series of satin dresses in sunset and spice shades that skimmed the ankle, and which had also been fashioned in lightweight linens and crinkled cotton fabrics to mirror the textures of the Le Corbusier tapestries. And for those loyal clients looking for an evening ensemble, a trio of architecturally ruffled gowns in coral, fuchsia and lemon, each suspended from contrasting black velvet straps, or one of the floor-sweeping organza and sequin creations that closed the show will undoubtedly appeal.
Photos: Giovanni Giannoni/WDD & vogue.com