australia fashion week: shakuhachi

(images via vogue)

we’ve actually only seen the work of australian label shakuhachi once before (for the s/s 2012 season) and i was honestly kind of ‘meh’ about it, so i was pleasantly surprised (and a little wondering if it was the same brand, frankly) at their s/s 2014 turn down the sydney catwalks, which blended dainty, retro-leaning florals and pastel tones with some sparkle and shining metallics and little futuristic/sci-fi cuts.

it was a look that, quite honestly, reminded me of that which i’m always going on about, former balenciaga designer nicolas ghesquière’s beloved ‘future-as-seen-through-the-eyes-of-the-past’ thing that he perhaps best exemplified during the f/w 2010 collection which drew at least some inspiration from the sixties era of russia cosmonauts, and also featured a set inspired by the 1968 film 2001: a space odyssey (get it? a futuristic film made about a year that, by the time the collection launched, was already about a decade behind us).

and so! i can proudly proclaim (rather loudly, i guess) that i was mostly right in these assumptions, as during my writing research i came across some pre-show interviews with shakuhachi designer jessie white, who verified to marie claire that she was “(i)nspired by 1960’s silhouettes, nostalgic, floaty florals and space-age couture! The collection is a fun interplay of ‘the modern’ meets ‘the retro;’ it’s a real juxtaposition of contrasting prints and textiles.”

the designer also went on to explain of the range textiles that “(i)t’s luminescent! Lots of shiny, sheeny fabrics, metallic pastels, patent PU fabrications, bonded floral neoprene, bonded lace… lots of treats,” and, in doing a similar pre-show talk with vogue, added that “(w)e have started to develop our own unique fabrications. We have invested in new fabric development technologies and have been experimenting with manufacturing innovative textile techniques.”

when responding to a question about what was new, she rejoined that it was “(t)he experimental elements of the fabrics and prints. Fresh, innovative, body-contouring shapes and silhouettes,” while citing as a favourite look “(t)he boldness and simplicity of our neoprene midi peplum skirt and structured bodice, teamed back with our over the knee neoprene boots.”

and in a slightly different turn, she told them that “(t)his season’s muse is brazen bombshell Barbarella, living in a fantastical floral fairytale,” and that, in terms of media, “Valley of the Dolls, sci-fi film Fahrenheit 451 [based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury novel of the same name], and Nick Cave and Kylie [Minogue’s] Where the Wild Roses Grow,” all come to mind with the collection. i have to admit, she’s done a well-researched job building a whole alternate universe around her girl for spring, you know?

well. in the end, contrary-wise to the rather lackluster collection we saw from the designer some two years ago (i just found it rather beige and bland), this felt like the inspired retro-future fusion that, ahem, paco rabanne wishes it could be catching onto these days (and is mostly failing at). i like that the clothes feel so light and sprightly, yet have a depth of understanding to them, beyond merely just being cutesy. and a number of the prints kind of evoked mary katrantzou‘s signature florals, though i liked that ms. white didn’t go so heavy with them. all in all, if this wasn’t just a fluke, and she really is improving this fast, i predict a rise and rise–rapidly–for this one in the coming seasons.

(watch the full fashion show video here)

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