Scurrying around the streets of London on the second day of London Collections: Men, my third mocha and sixth packet of popcorn in hand (don't judge me, please) I ended up being photographed by a blogger, who, as she briskly ran off, gave me a little flyer. It was an invite to Romanian artist and fashion designer's AW15/16 show, Florin Dobre.
Held in the Romanian Embassy and Cultural Institute, the sumptuously regal surroundings set the scene for what I could only describe as one of the most eclectic fashion shows I've ever attended. I could easily imagine Lady Gaga taking notes from the buffet of crazy delights.
I arrived a little late, thanks mostly to the wonderful world of Travel for London, and found a room full to the brim with a bustle that only the compolite London could offer. The jesty host, with suede leather ankle boots defining his dashing ensemble, narrated the Elizabethan runway. As the hst echoed against the technicolour music, the eclectic audience bustled on, the cameras jetted and the models playfully strolled on.
Titled 'Rome and Juliet', the collection is a Shakespearean confectionery of classical silhouettes fused with both traditional Romanian styles, but also bold, futuristic imagery. Flroin Dombre is known for his love of theatrics, so it's no real surprise here that he's taken to one of the most iconic Western love stories as his foundation for inspiration. The pieces are each spectacles of their own, and you could really see them spread across an editorial front cover. The hues were allusions of the old, Elizabethan scriptures and regal robes that the lady herself would have enveloped herself in, like an ephemeral cloud. The palette is of crisp, autumnal tones: roasted burgundies, golden mustards, and clean whites.
The whole runway was like a play. The wild performances of the models, who all seemingly had their own character to play, set in such a lavish ambiance. It really helped take the edge off the typically weighty atmosphere of some fashion shows. Seeping into the hardened conventions of the sartorial are modern asymmetrical structures and a diverse foray of fun textures.
But all fabrics were actually produced by Dorobantu S.A., one of the oldest and most prestigious textile factories in Romania. You can see small inklings of the Romanian stylisation, whether it be in the floral patterns sprinkled onto the blossoming suit, the bulbous buffalo hats, or the durable gloves. The curtain is called with the final models, Romeo and Julient themselves, clothed in earthy, brocade fabrics. Wrapping up the whole collection, it all ends happily ever after.
At the show's after party, I bumped into photographer Elena Issac, who's photographical skills I just had to feature. We caught up, having since last seen each-other at London Fashion Week, and spent the evening drinking Romanian champagne, which has a bawdy tang to it.
Considering I was was invited to this event by sheer chance, it goes to show just how small the fashion industry is. It's not as cold or foreboding as the Devil Wear Prada may make out, it's a tightly-knit, yet warm community. You can't go anywhere without seeing at least one person you know!
Florin Dobre's Autumn / Winter 2015.16 collection is a convulsion of traditional Romanian fabrics with contemporary silhouettes, all wrapped up nicely under a romanticised tale of two star-crossed lovers.
What did you all think of this collection? Slay, or nay?
All photographs copyright of Elena Issac.
copyright © josh milton 2017