EXPLORING CONFLICT: Dilara Findikoglu, the Turkish-born, London-based designer, has built a reputation as a rule breaker ever since she staged a guerrilla fashion show outside Central Saint Martins three years ago.
She has now been rethinking the fashion calendar and quit the London Fashion Week schedule this September to present her spring 2019 collection in time for Halloween, in an 18th-century Georgian home in East London filled with dark wood furniture, grand chandeliers and an array of paraphernalia dating back 300 years.
“It’s important for a young designer to try to experience new things. If you follow what everyone else is doing, there is no point in trying to be a young innovative designer,” said Findikoglu. “That’s the main reason why I wanted to present in a different time, in my own time. Maybe it will open a new way for other young designers where we don’t get lost between the stress and crazy pace of fashion week. Right now it’s my time, my day and I could present the way I wanted.”
She pointed to the importance of people coming and spending time in the venue, to discover her world and the intricacy of her clothes: “If this was fashion week, people would probably have five minutes. But you know what? Making that dress actually took me two f****ng weeks and you have to look at it. All of my clothes are sentimental. I give a piece of myself into each piece.”
Always paying close attention to global political and feminist issues, Findikoglu explored a series of dualities for her latest range, using the conflict between her Turkish heritage and her current home of London, the tension between the spiritual and the every day or sin and innocence to inform her collection.
The result was a spooky, hypnotic spectacle: Lily McMenamy was lying in a dimly lit room wearing a bodysuit featuring heavy coin embellishments referencing the designer’s hometown of Istanbul; in another room a model was lying down in a bed, dressed in a white tulle dress to represent a virgin bride; while next door, models in sugary pink and bold red dresses played with dolls and represented the conflict between girlhood and adulthood.
“That’s my favorite room. These girls are trapped in this nightmare of being an adult, yet they still want to be children and the idea was to reference child marriages and people being pushed to get married, particularly girls in the Middle East,” said Findikoglu, adding that she will be collaborating with the charity World Human Relief and giving the organization part of the proceeds from a new line of T-shirts going live on her web shop next week.