Sometimes when I write lots of different buzzwords down at fashion week shows, I think its a bad thing. That maybe the collection was unfocussed or disjointed, that there were too many ideas at once; too much on the radar and not enough under it. But this afternoon, at David Koma’s spring/summer 2014 show, the first word I wrote down was ‘strong’ in bold letters. Because that’s exactly how it felt, really together, really powerful.
Inspired by the laws of the Japanese Kyudo, Koma’s woman is an elegant warrior. She is dressed, according to the show notes, ‘by the principles of balance, stillness and control’. She opened in black and white, ying and yang. As the collection progressed it seemed to grow both in colour palette and in complexity: more and more panelling, shredding of panels for a bar effect and the addition (and later removal again) of sleeves. It was as if Koma wanted to warm us up to his skill, to his exquisite abilities to cut and recut.
Most of this skill fell in the shape of dresses. A token few pairs of trousers strutted their stuff, a pleated skirt showe its face but the collection’s dominator came in dress form. In a departure from a sequence of fierce structured shapes, Koma experimented with some softer pieces, a gentle side-assymetric piece seemed a little reminiscent of Nicolas Ghesquiere’s final collection for Balenciaga a few seasons previously.
Reflecting on the day so far, Koma’s fierce collection seemed to rail against something. While the inspiration comes from a place of stillness and control, it seemed to rile against the silken drapery of the day, against the easy, comfortable aesthetic that fashion has adopted of late.
But for the woman looking for a powerful statement dress, nothing too flashy or overt, brash, crass or slogan-printed (as per so many others seen lately), then Koma’s spring/summer collection is it. It is striking, confident and controlled: the effortless dream.
David Koma’s Central Saint Martins tutor Louise Wilson was seen at the end of the show. She should be, and undoubtedly is, extremely proud.
Watch the show here: