We all have those items in our wardrobe which transcend time and trends. There’s no expiry date on a crisp white shirt that hangs pridefully, or one’s first designer clothing item invested in, or those trusty trainers for never to be thrown out or the requisite leather shoes, pristine and polished. “When does an object stop becoming something merely materialistic and become something special?” pondered the press release at Sabinna Rachimova’s Spring 2018 presentation at the Swiss Church in London, in September. Undoubtedly, it is a million dollar question. Fashion brands leverage their wares, aspiring to yield an enduring and timeless success with consumers. Oftentimes our runways are overflowing with stuff, superfluity and fodder—some will say fashion is dead, others will say it’s just not good enough.
Rachimova’s collection wasn’t the answer to the question—it’s too tall of an order for most designers to accommodate. However, try their best they may. Rachimova made a strong effort deploying a line of patterned basics and colour-blocking exercises. Exceptionally, she employed her virtuosic knitwear skills, creating floral designs.
Rachimova’s mood was informed by the work of three British artists: Mar Goman (whose work comprises of silhouettes such as tunics and dresses filled with utensils from the affectionately titled ‘clutter drawer’), Celia Pym (a knitwear virtuoso who crafts brilliant sweaters with a stylish aged and battered mien, which acquaint themselves with the idea of imperfection, effortlessly achieving ‘owned’ status) and Oliver Jeffers (his socially aware illustrations lending themselves to the collection’s colour palette which consists of blood red and navy.) Her selection of art history references collate wonderfully, a successful attempt to procure warmth and homeliness, which act as contributory factors in ascertaining the status of being more than materialistic fodder.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and not every piece a designer creates will have the ability to last in a wardrobe somewhere forever. Rachimova played things relatively safe this season with outerwear but she excelled with knitwear, where her expertise lies. Despite the necessity of a fully developed collection with a variety of options, perhaps Rachimova’s strengths are where she should focus and in attracting mainstream she should strike accordingly, to create a bolder and more worthwhile outerwear outfit.
The question on which this collection was founded is an interesting one. Although a designer can offer solutions, the ball is eventually placed in the consumer’s court, as they are tasked with acquisitively experimenting with the clothing options presented to them, road testing them and understanding the importance and worth of garments in their lives.