LFW: Francesca Marotta

For her second season at London Fashion Week Francesca Marotta used her childhood memories as inspiration for the collection, evocatively entitled Amore della mia Vita, meaning ‘Love of my life’.

Due to its focus on the strength of Sicilian women who have loved dearly and lost, the focus was on mourning and therefore the palette of the garments was predominantly black but that doesn’t mean the aesthetic was depressing, on the contrary, it was glamorous and erotic, with sparkly veils, sheer patterned tops and captivating cloaks. There were high-collars, tulip skirts, red ruffles and an abundance of high quality fabrics from satins, wool, lace, cashmere, brocade, silk, hand-knits and leather. Particularly perfect for such a decadent collection was the gorgeous setting of Goldsmiths Hall, all chandeliers and opulence.

The show production and styling was excellent with a quirky soundtrack, pleasing contrasts of simple and complicated structures, the old with the nouveau and choreographed model movement; for the finale the audience were treated to mesmerizing melodramatic dancing. I was most impressed by the innovatively striking yet eminently wearable hair styling from Nina Butkovich-Budden, with crimping and hair grips, hair was volumised to a bird-nest like fashion then worn around the head, like a halo type hat or perhaps best interpreted as a crown. Francesca recalls Sicilian summers in her girlhood when she would watch processions of men dressed as Jesus whipping themselves followed by the ladies in mourning in what appeared to be their Sunday best. A lot of the jewellery and make-up alluded to Crucifixion, with large dangerous seeming thorn like perspex wreaths worn around the neck but whose reach extended beyond the shoulders and the around the eye area painted red as though the model had been crying tears of blood.

The jewellery was colourful and chunky phosphorescent yellows, blues and reds by Milko Boyarov to offer optimism that one day Sicilian women will stop being oppressed and become free. Besides from exploring such interesting themes, its real success was in the details with long lace trains, flowing sleeves, fluted skirt wings and just astonishing pieces that most people would love for the wardrobe, never thought that the widower look could be so desirable.