Roberta Einer, Belstaff and APUJAN Redefine “Ladylike” for SS/17

Roberta Einer, Belstaff and APUJAN Redefine “Ladylike” for SS/17

Most hazy Sundays are spent peacefully whiling the day away whilst anticipating and planning for the upcoming week. Last Sunday at London Fashion Week, however, was spent meandering through different interpretations of femininity and power. Roberta Einer, Belstaff and APUJAN all intricately explored the different attributes ‘strong women’ can possess, and how “power” can be defined in a variety of ways.

Imagine a sweltering night in the Miami heat. Think 80s supermodels on vacation; still refined and beautiful but letting themselves loose and adapting to warmer temperatures. Roberta Einer’s SS/17 collection transported us there, as kitsch poolside poster art was contrasted with heavy embroidery that submerged the viewer in the wonders of the Dirty South. Faces of the collection embodied the breeziness of the collection, frolicking amongst a decomposing greenhouse of sorts, with clear plastic engulfing a miss-match of flowered tones.

Roberta Einer

Roberta Einer, SS/17

Instead of looking towards the more archetypal, ice-cream coloured niceness that beach resorts are so often associated with, Einer developed a nocturnal twist on the typical seaside colour palette. Opting for a stronger, punchier landscape of greens, blues, pinks and fluorescents. Whilst offering an insight into the inspiration for the collection, Einer explained that she wanted to “recreate what all those strong characters like Bianca Jagger would be wearing if they went to Miami”. This explains the strong but still breathable silhouettes with classic garments such as the slinky slip dress being taken up a notch by the introduction of intricate embellishment. The Roberta Einer girls were in no way whimsical or apologetic, the strength of their characters permeate through the clothing.

The collection’s standout pieces definitely developed from the designer’s collaboration with Swarovski. One of these was the ethereal crystal dust bomber jacket with a twinkling of crystals and pearls whose hand-painted decoration added a touch of D.I.Y to the otherwise seasoned garmentory. Einer successfully mixed Miami vice with a touch of European cool in her fourth collection, resulting in a wondrous clash of colour, print and graphics with an added sparkle.

Roberta Einer

Roberta Einer, SS/17

However, womanliness doesn’t have to come in the form of crystal encrusted cocktail dresses, which APUJAN proved with his mystical, free flowing designs. Transporting us back to an ancient summer night’s dream, the London-based brand’s show took place in a fantasy world imbued with the mysteries of the past.

A haze of blue hues transcended down the catwalk, with innovative knitwear techniques being embraced in the most unique of ways. A strong nod to oriental patterns came in the form of intricate blue and white embroidery, with contemporary materials such as self-developed jacquard fabrics acting as an anchor throughout the whole collection.

APUJAN

APUJAN, SS/17

The sea of blue was then completely contrasted with a strong impact of stripes, plaids and graphic prints, allowing for a wearable edit that still grabbed the attention at first glance. By relying on a recurring theme within his collections, APUJAN provides a surreal refuge for his customer by producing thoughtful, literature-inspired designs. With standout pieces including a ladylike take on the classic black and white tux in the form of an evening gown, the label embraces the womanly form in a way that doesn’t appear too whimsical or soft.

APUJAN

APUJAN, SS/17

Belstaffon the other hand, is for the woman who defies all the elements that may be against her. The woman who is able to find strength in androgyny and not bow down to society’s notions of what a female “should be”. The magic of Belstaff is that they always manage to take the most substantial and esteemed moments in time and develop these slices of history into exquisite garmentory that subsequently feels considered and invested in.

This season, Belstaff found inspiration within the legacy of the Van Buren sisters, who embarked on an epic 5,500 mile trans-American motorcycle journey to campaign for women’s right to serve in the US armed forces as dispatch riders. Womenswear moto-style apparel has always been questionable, with designers severely limiting female riders’ choice in safety wear by only allowing the choice between cutesy styles embezzled with sickly pink graphics or the other extreme, dark gothic designs, which assumes female riders slot into two neatly confined categories.

Belstaff

Belstaff, SS/17

However, Belstaff’s approach to SS/17 allowed for these feminine aspects, without compromising on hard structures and materials. By styling long dispatch rider coats in bold check with finespun, dainty slip dresses beneath, Belstaff provided a feminine strength that permeated an atmosphere of determination and durability. With models captured in front of the soft, bleached-out landscape of the vast American wilderness, you could almost drift into the deep deserted plains of the South.

Belstaff

Belstaff, SS/17

With three designers all embodying different interpretations of what it means to be a woman in power in 2016, the door remains fully open for wider discussions on the future state of femininity.

Written by Nina Burrell,

Contributor

Photography by Federica Tenti 

Roberta Einer

Roberta Einer, SS/17

Roberta Einer

Roberta Einer, SS/17

Roberta Einer

Roberta Einer

APUJAN

APUJAN

APUJAN

APUJAN

Belstaff

Belstaff

Belstaff

Belstaff

Belstaff

Belstaff