London Fashion Week 2014: Roksanda Ilincic rinses out the old-school charm to give a vision of the future that's all too retro

There is a zingy freshness to the contrasts of colour and the circular cut-outs punctuating wool shift dresses

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Depending on your perceptions, the catwalk at Roksanda Ilincic’s spring/summer 2015 show - arched with saturnian rings with overhead lights flashing a flight-path as the first models marched through their paces - looked like a lot of things.

To weary, bleary-eyed transatlantic travellers, it resembled the train that chugs passengers from Heathrow terminal five to the main body of the station. To others, it looked like the monorail that circles the compounds of the dystopian futures depicted in Logan’s Run or The Running Man. Or, it looked like a children’s playground. Past, present, future, travel or play. Take your pick. Those are a lot of references, with a lot of inbuilt allusions.

How to apply those to the collection that Ilincic showed? There weren’t many clues. The opening was Playschool bright, blocky, chunky dresses and coats in Legoland colour contrasts. The models trudged in flat sandals. Later, those were exchanged for arching high-heels with a touch of Ettore Sottsass to them, matched to geometric prints on sweatshirts and skirts and clunky, heavy-duty embroidery. The finale was squiggle-prints across tulle.

 

You could see the point to the endeavour. They’ll have hanger appeal. There was a zingy freshness to the contrasts of colour, the circular cut-outs punctuating wool shift dresses, the taped seams on flat-packed coats and childish, Claudine-collared blouses. And there was a spare simplicity to the styles, just as Ilincic has snipped away her tricky surname from her label to retitle it plain “Roksanda.”

However, there was something missing. Maybe it was the ladylike frisson that once informed her work, making it sometimes prissy and fussy, but certainly different to the other labels populating the fashion scene. Today, most of that has been rinsed out, the old-school, old lady style flushed clean in favour of a spare modernism. It’s forward-thinking but, like Logan’s Run, seems dated - a retro vision of the future. In this case, it was either the eighties - all that Memphis stuff, the garbled graphics scrambled in prints over separates - or Roksanda’s work of the past few seasons. They felt familiar already, from rails of clothing bearing the Roksanda label (and other labels too). And familiarity, as the saying goes, breeds contempt.

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