Barbara Casasola’s first on-schedule London Fashion Week show was booked for half past eight in the evening, a bleak and eery time of night to be walking solo down Piccadilly. In the rain, naturally. But that’s what I found myself doing this evening, and boy I am glad I did.
I’ll admit that I didn’t know a great deal about Ms Casasola before the evening of the show. But the girl got talent, yo. She’s full of it. Set in the White Cub Gallery, around the back of Fortnum & Mason, the Central Saint Martins graduate’s set reflected the sophisticated, sexy vibe she has generated showing in Paris of late.
Upon a second graduation from Milan’s Istituto Marangoni – Alexis Barrell, also featured in our London Fashion Week roundup is also a graduate – Casasola was hired by Roberto Cavalli, working as his first assistant designer for two years. It’s a pretty big feat: imagine doing that after your graduation. Following these years in Florence under Cavalli, Casasola wokred on assignments for See by Chloe and Lanvin, alongside former Sonia Rykiel creative director Gabriele Greiss. Focussing on Brazilian Modernism – while I’ve never been to Brazil, the modernism is the first thing you think of – Casasola’s eponymous label was launched for summer 2012.
But to the present, for this is something to be very excited about. The show venue itself, on reflection, is indicative of the collection. White washed benches sat in the pure studio to allow models to pass by as if untouched by nature. The clothes: pared back. Sensual. Calm. Beautiful. All of those really great buzz words that people actually want their clothes to look like. Wearable – a kill joy fashion word, but the definitive answer. I sat asking myself if I’d buy that, wear it, cherish it. And the answer, time after time, was yes. Yes, I would.
A collaboration with Manolo Blahnik puts a fine slice of polish on the collection: gently metallic high spikers were on the models’ feet as they tiptoed down past the front row. Casasola’s summer wardrobe is effortless yet formal. I shan’t disregard all else by calling it ‘day to night’, but it is flexible. A little naked in parts, but let’s keep it fun.
Sheer panelling upped the sex vibe – but this is not Tom Ford, metallic runway kind of Gucci sex, but sex by B. Casasola: simply beautiful. It is unassuming . She mixed box pleats – the very best kind of cutting – into solid and transparent modes of finish, a little touch here, and there of each surface. The result is delicate. And a little delicacy, I feel is overdue.
This is Barbara Casaola’s first London season, the first of many to come, I hope. And she has delivered, like an absolute pro. Her quick wave to the crowd was met with roars of pleasure, a well deserved applause.