Roksanda Ilincic was back at the Serpentine pavilion staging a dynamic presentation with lots of flying fringe, billowing silk and dramatic flailing by dancers and models, part of an immersive performance choreographed by the artist Holly Blakey.
The show was full of physicality and raw emotion and stood out in this hybrid season of virtual catwalks, films and the odd live runway show.
Ilincic certainly means business. Inspired by a series of black-and-white images of Pina Bausch dancers, Ilincic said she was struck by their “motion and emotion, their hysteria and beauty — and how it relates to the times we’re living in now.”
She tried to translate that sense of motion — and tension — in the clothing, taking lightweight boning and twisting it to create 3D spirals in her colorful silk dresses.
The boning was a wonder and the dresses bounced joyfully — or nervously, depending on the model — and they made an impressive entrance on the sculptural pavilion designed by the Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace.
Other performers danced in parachute cape dresses or swooshing silk caftans printed with thick brush strokes. Adding to the sense of movement and emotive energy were coats and skirts sprouting long fil coupé fringes that floated and flew as models danced or collapsed dramatically on the floor.
The dancers weren’t the only ones wearing their emotions on their sleeves (and silk dresses). Ilincic was in a buoyant mood ahead of the show, thrilled to be back in her spiritual show home of the Serpentine Gallery, and grateful for the return of her customers post-lockdown.
The designer said last week was a knockout in terms of sales at her Mount Street store, so it’s no wonder she wants to jump up and dance.