The Little Shilpa fashion show was not the standard fare; there was no catwalk, or even seats. In a ballroom at the top of Freeman’s House, they had created a gothic den. An eerie lightshow and projections of classic gothic horror films was the backdrop to the couture outfits. The six models stood at the centre of the room as performance art.
The entire collection was in black (obviously), but that did not mean it all looked the same. Each model had a unique aesthetic, based around a different theme. These were not everyday clothes; these were mystical, macabre and slightly bizarre couture creations. The models wore feather headpieces, shaped to look like antlers, bug eyes and trees. The influence of nature and wildlife was apparent, even the models skin was painted a green tinge. My favourite look was the black lace headpiece which had sheer panels embroidered to look like a spray of flowers over the face, it was stunning. The overabundance of black lace worked well with the ruffled and theatrical silhouettes.
The experience of the presentation was odd: rather than watching them walk, the audience was invited to walk around the models and pay attention to the detail of the outfits as they stood motionless. Occasionally the models would do a choreographed walk into a different position, meaning the line between the everyday world (the audience) and high art (their beautiful selves) was blurred. However, this worked well as the intricacies of the craftsmanship would have been lost on a catwalk.
It was a fascinating thing to watch, and the looks really were remarkable. As I said, this wasn’t fashion for the faint-hearted (or unadventurous), but the sheer imagination of the clothes shone through the ghoulish façade.