Marta Jakubowski displayed her first presentation during London Fashion Week in February. Occupying the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the German designer collaborated with set designer Gary Card to create a set for the show. A plume of foam and suds was planted in the the show space and models stood, raised above the crowd. The idea of “growing bigger and extending both physically and mentally” was revolving in Marta’s mind. That concept is easily applied to the title of the show which was ‘Super Hero.’ Performance artists, fire walkers, broken-glass walkers, circus performers were the real-life superheroes she had in mind.
Her friends, the models in the collection, both male and female, were adorned in subverted puffa jackets, peculiarly tailored suiting, all which permeated notions of gender fluidity. According to Marta, the clothes are for whoever deems themselves brave enough to wear them. However, the commentary on gender fluidity is an important, especially for a young designer. It’s more economical to use your friends as models in your collection, but you’re also pushing the fashion industry’s defensive boundaries, which is a super power in itself.
“I think there’s a melancholia, but also a mental strength coming through,” the designer said, commenting on the theme of female empowerment in the collection. The colour palette of red, white and black, yet again, conveys human emotion simply. The dualism of black and white—lightness and darkness, good and evil. Factoring in red and it encompasses love, anger, danger, sexuality, sin; all of those are themes that this collection might, sometimes inadvertently omit. The darkness of the room, and of many of the outfits, prove that it is melancholia that prevails, but the cutouts in the clothing radiates a resilience and strength.
Poetically introducing mental health to the fashion conversation, it’s hard not forget Marta’s commentary on insane asylums in last season’s collection. This, however, struck me as a more personal story that could capture the attention of any woman, who might resonate with the statement that underscored the collection—of “mental strength coming through.” It’s a potent thematic influence to employ, but Marta’s clearly skilled enough to do it in an uncompromisingly honest manner.
Marta Jakubowski is a superheroine; her power is to bewitch and delight audiences with wonderfully crafted, thoughtful clothing.
Photo Credit: highsnobiety.com