Natalia Alaverdian’s debut runway show in London was a testament to the designer’s sense of volume and proportion.

The show was strong on deconstructed tailoring and draped silhouettes, which left viewers guessing where one garment began and the other ended. A split, ample skirt suggesting wide cuffs in lieu of hems evoked a pair of culottes as the girl moved, while a volley of sinuous dresses with seamlessly integrated shawls looked as if they had been draped  on the models’ bodies.

Alaverdian cut mercilessly into her sumptuously tailored jackets, creating a deliberately imperfect aesthetic, and equipped her crisp white shirts with double or triple sleeves for a surrealist touch. Elsewhere, a simple, belted coat was made to resemble a modernist kimono through heavy layering protruding from underneath the arms. The clin d’oeil effects got more literal — a classic beige trench worn both inside out and backward, or mockup hands creeping from behind and around the models’ waists. Higher-than-high straw top hats with Kabuki masks laughing in their backs rounded off these spirited looks.

It was all very eccentric, but in a friendly kind of way, conjuring what Salvador and Gala Dalí might have looked like on a Japanese safari.

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