SS16: A Sartorial Lesson In Cultural Studies

Global influences are never far from fashion’s firmament and next spring, designers’ sphere of influence again extends far and wide.

Among our favourite culturally inspired SS16 collections are John Galliano’s designs for Maison Margiela. His favoured geisha styling was very evident in his latest offering for the French house, with models sporting white painted faces strutting down the catwalk in sculptural, geisha silhouettes.

Japanese culture also served as a point of reference for Paris-based designer Olympia Le Tan, who incorporated elements as diverse as kinbaku (Japanese bondage) and Hello Kitty in her designs during Paris Fashion Week at the Palais de Tokyo. The collection, an ode to Japan, was inspired by the closing and imminent demolition of iconic Tokyo establishment Hotel Okura, and she even featured the hexagonal designs from the hotel’s carpet on a selection of styles.

Isabel Marant’s global nomad settled in Rajasthan this season, with the designer’s free spirited collection reflecting the rich, colourful textiles of the region.

Closer to home, Mary Katrantzou was inspired by folklore and the traditional costumes of Eastern Europe. The London-based Greek designer’s ever evolving aesthetic centered around Roma gypsy dress for spring, with delicate floral prints on fluttery fabrics.

At Valentino, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli were heavily influenced by African culture. The duo’s spring collection draws on the continent’s textiles and traditions, including Masai style beading, with the aim of conveying a message of tolerance, beauty and cross-cultural expression.