Monday, April 11, 2016

Isa Arfen // Fall 2016 //

Isa Arfen is a celebrated label amongst the fashion crowd. With backing from the likes of Caroline Issa, Susie Lau, Harley Viera Newton, Leandra Medine, Kate Foley and others—you’re guaranteed to see one of the above ladies decked out in the label’s wares on Instagram, especially during fashion month. Founded in 2011 by Serafina Sama (Isa Arfen is an anagram of Serafina), the Italian designer lends an aristocratic sensibility to relaxed, feminine ideas. With a Central Saint Martins degree and experience at Marni, Lanvin and Marc Jacobs, Sama’s design process is a reflection of her background—stretching back to her childhood in Italy. The three labels that Sama worked at represent three entirely different versions of femininity. It would appear that she has harnessed them all and injected them into her own label. 
To celebrate her fall 2016 collection, Sama held a presentation during London Fashion Week at a prime Saturday afternoon slot. The venue was the BFC Presentation Space—the Institute of Contemporary Arts; inside models frolicked on a makeshift scaffold, erected to resemble the inspiration: the Blitz club. The Blitz Kids were a famed group known for their outlandish dressings and make-up choices. The most outrageous thing to be found in this collection were a pair of capri trousers in a metallic yellow, an off-the-shoulder pink dress, and an oversized baby doll dress with a frilled bodice and lace detailing. Even so, that’s just on paper. The finished product are highly wearable, functional items that double as day to night garments. To match the late-70s inspiration, there were denim pencil skirts, oversized baby doll dresses, herringbone trousers (sitting above the ankle), Victoriana-inspired jackets and fluted sleeves, velvet trousers. 

There were permeations of manliness in the collection via the tailoring. The oversized cape and men’s jackets were fitting for a male or female. One model in particular was styled in such a way. Formally styled and with coiffed hair, gender fluidity found its way into this collection, as it did many others during the season.

Photographer Serge Lutens was another inspirational factor. Known for his use of models wearing extreme makeup styles, the models here wore similar styles of hair and makeup. 

Providing women with emboldening designs, Serafina Sama is offering clothes that speak to a woman who want to stand out amidst the crowd of dullness. With colour and expert fabrication, these clothes were set in a nightclub but could easily be worn to an art exhibition opening or to the office. I hope this was my first of many Isa Arfen shows. 
All images are my own

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