Roksanda Ilincic showed in the Savoy ballroom earlier today, the scene of her win at both last week’s ELLE Style Awards and the British Fashion Awards for the same category: Red Carpet Designer.
It seems almost reductive to put her in this category - although she would never dream of complaining about it - when you consider all the brilliant daywear she makes, enjoyed by her committed fans around the world. But then there is such a determination on behalf of the industry to commend her at the moment and there’s no denying her pull on the red carpet.
Today, as if aware of her dual appeal, she sent out a collection that demonstrated her skill for both the realities of every day (albeit an extra-special day that you’d wear these pieces) and the type of photo-worthy creations favoured by everyone from Emma Stone to Samantha Cameron.
She opened with the prettiest wool dress of the season so far in pale fondant pink cashmere, then worked in soft grey woven checks in long lean skirts and panelled dresses, occasionally punctuating the sweetness with a patent skirt or a searing orange fur collar. So far so dreamy looking.
Then things took a darker more subversive twist – the colour turned to deep aubergine, the soft fabrics developed plasticised coatings and shone like liquorice, jersey looked like neoprene and slices of an almost violent green gave a hard edge to her colour blocked fur coats – real, but made to look almost synthetic. The prettiness was also offset throughout with bright metallic-striped, angular-heeled booties.
‘I wanted to bring a surprise with colour,’ she said afterwards, ‘the freshness of pink and these virginal brides contrasted with this feeling of a ghostly, haunted, darker, mysterious woman.’
For her final outfits, she brought back the pink but in shine-coated taffeta, immaculately decorated with miniscule transparent crystal beads. These felt like a bold move away from her signature sinuous crepe, block-coloured dresses, for which she is now famed and adored.
Further evidence, if any were needed, that Roksanda Ilincic is a fashion designer who deserves to be lauded as such – although, admittedly, they would look absolutely stunning on a red carpet too.