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Suzy Menkes Международный редактор VOGUE

#SuzyLFW: Duro Olowu – Pattern, Colour and Louche Elegance

23 сентября 2015

A mischievous mix of prints, an intriguing rear view, an effortless elegance… The shows that linger in the mind are often unexpected.

Duro Olowu presented his collection in an elegant private home - the antithesis of the Soho car park that was this season's location for London Fashion Week.

Duro Olowu and a model at his spring/summer 2016 presentation, held in a private home in London
Duro Olowu and a model at his spring/summer 2016 presentation, held in a private home in London
For this collection Duro combined different fabrics within one dress for a painterly effect
For this collection Duro combined different fabrics within one dress for a painterly effect

His inspiration was Amrita Sher-Gil, a significant Hungarian/Indian woman painter of the 1930s known as "India's Frida Kahlo". To Duro, the painter's sense of colour and artistic empathy with her subjects were compelling. He translated her spirit by creating what he described as "a feminine silhouette with that louche elegance that's always intriguing to me".

For a deft touch at the back of the dress, Duro repeats the pattern but in different colourways
For a deft touch at the back of the dress, Duro repeats the pattern but in different colourways
Duro’s inspiration for this collection was Amrita Sher-Gil, a woman painter from the 1930s known as “India’s Frida Kahlo”
Duro’s inspiration for this collection was Amrita Sher-Gil, a woman painter from the 1930s known as “India’s Frida Kahlo”
Duro collaborated with Paul Andrew on the shoes for spring/summer 2016, favouring flats with pointed toes, some with a glazed surface (right)
Duro collaborated with Paul Andrew on the shoes for spring/summer 2016, favouring flats with pointed toes, some with a glazed surface (right)

This London-based designer with a multi-cultural sensibility showed me his spring/summer 2016 collection, with its apparently effortless mixes of colour and pattern, often with a surprising exit line. This meant that a dress in a geometric pattern of moss green turned to show the same design in black and white at the back; or a tumble of patterns from fat pink roses to tiny black-and-white polka dots to a bouquet of florals all melded into a single summer dress.

Duro Olowu, spring/summer 2016
Duro Olowu, spring/summer 2016
Duro Olowu, spring/summer 2016
Duro Olowu, spring/summer 2016

We see so much pattern on the current fashion catwalks, but it is rare to see print perfectly aligned with the design of the clothes. Duro favoured a long, lean body with hemline elongated to over the knee - the better to show low, pointed-toe shoes with a glazed surface designed in collaboration with Paul Andrew.

I was not convinced by a kaftan with colour and pattern rippling like waves. But the Duro Olowu message was elegant for evening, with a softy tiered dress printed with peonies and a waft of green feathers as a cover up. That was one of the most appealing dresses I saw for the next spring/summer season.

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