LONDON, United Kingdom — There’s something about Roksanda Ilincic’s clothes which is defiantly out of time – like a village which absorbed a particular cultural moment, then was dislocated from the onrushing current of change. A sleeping beauty, perhaps. That’s not to say her clothes are old-fashioned. They’re just extremely particular, in their elongated silhouette, their extravagant volume, and in an artisanal quality that suggests hand-crafts passed down through generations.
All of that was in Roksanda’s latest collection. She said it was her reaction to a digital overdose, to the tsunamis of perfected imagery that swamp our consciousness. She wanted the handcrafted, the raw, a return to nature even. So there was less of the signature colour-blocking, the Russian Constructivist influence of Malevich and Kandinsky, and more of Natalia Goncharova, another Russian avant-gardist who also designed costumes that were heavily influenced by folk art.
There was a definite folkishness in Roksanda’s abstract floral graphics, in her raffia fringing, like cornsilk, and in her last beauty, a purple chiffon floorsweeper decorated with huge red sunflowers. Less folk but just as much fantasy were the dresses and tops in hammered silk with poet’s sleeves falling extravagantly floorwards. The success of her business suggests that there are plenty of women who take Roksanda as a licence to indulge their own flair for the fantastic. And that connection is more critical than ever to fashion.