Friday, April 8, 2016

Sophia Webster Fall 2016

"Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!" While a certain green haired miscreant may have been the star of Tim Burton's 1988 masterpiece, it was Lydia Deetz who got her own collection earlier this year at London Fashion Week through the agency of shoe designer, Sophia Webster. Recently announced as the winner of the 2016 British Fashion Council/ Vogue Fashion Fund, Sophia Webster has made great strides in the fashion world (shoe pun) working as an assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood before branching out to create her own label. A favorite with fashion bloggers, her wicked costumes and incredibly detailed set designs are just some of the reasons why her shows are among the most hotly anticipated at LFW. In 2016 she blended some of her more familiar motifs with a darker twist and in collaboration with one half of the now defunct label Meadham Kirchhoff, Edward Meadham. For those diehard fans, his handiwork is instantly recognizable from some of the more intricate lacework pieces and the kinderwhore aesthetic which Meadham Kirchhoff championed.   

The presentation, dubbed 'I Myself, Am Strange and Unusual' a direct quote from Tim Burton's cult classic Beetlejuice (1988) featured on one of the many beaded speech bubble purses. The speech bubble statement bags first appeared back in 2013, the same year luxury label was named Best Emerging Accessories Designer at the British Fashion Awards. Since then there have been plenty of knock-offs, much to Webster's annoyance but she has proven once again nothing comes close to the original in terms of witty slogans and execution. Included in a menagerie of small beaded purses are the words, 'Wifey for Lifey' which features heavily in Sophia Webster's bridal range. While it may seem like a far stretch, the inclusion of the bridal range doesn't seem nearly as strange when one remembers what happened at the end of Beetlejuice. Lydia Deetz, played by Winona Ryder, is almost forced to marry Beetlejuice and stands at the altar in a red lace wedding dress. The very same outfit was recreated especially for this collection with the help of Edward Meadham. 

Although some designers in the past have borrowed from Lydia Deetz's signature bangs, this is the very first collection inspired by her unique sense of style. It also marks Edward Meadham's glorious return to London Fashion Week, since the iconic label Meadham Kirchhoff announced their closure. These two events occurring simultaneously would normally be enough to have me jumping out of my skin, but the pressure of covering fashion week and intellectualising the shows and content is taking its toll. That's not to say I'm in love with the fusion between sexy kinderwhore, lace and statement shoes with two of my absolute favourite British designers but I am slightly apprehensive about the union. I'm hoping that they collaborate again in the near future, but am expecting the worst (i.e. the names of these two designers are never mentioned in the same breath, ever again).

Whilst Gothic romantic inspired costumes dominated most of the outfits from this collection, there were occasional and spectacular bursts of colour. Red is one of the few colours we see Lydia wear, before the ending of the movie and her happy attendance at school parented by the recently deceased Maitlands. The corresponding pair of high heels featured a sheer flocked polka dot pattern and rich red velvet corseting. While these shoes were possibly the most luxurious, they weren't my favourite. Instead my imagination was captured by the knee high sandals featuring digitally printed pansies. Since I became interested in fashion during high school this modern technique has gone through troughs and waves of popularity and varying degrees of influence within the fashion industry. The rainbow gradient effect and attention to detail by including matching thread on the edge of this eye popping design is everything I've come to love and more about this colourful shoe designers signature styles.

The veils which featured in this collection made me feel nostalgic for a time when Meadham Kirchhoff ruled London Fashion Week. I mentioned previously that the aesthetic between Webster and Edward Meadham blended beautifully together, but Meadham Kirchhoff wasn't trying to market sex appeal to women. Sophia Webster, as crazy and wild as her designers might be seems to attract women who are conventionally attractive, and as someone who spent most of her time throughout high school as a loner and outsider, this is slightly off putting. Not gonna lie, I'd be secretly pleased with myself if I amassed thousands of Instagram followers overnight or was able to convince my boyfriend to be more of an Instagram boyfriend taking photos for me but I know deep down that's not the real me. The real me likes to push and test boundaries with what she wears and isn't fussed with appearing attractive to the opposite sex. I can kind of understand that as a shoe and accessory designer, the outfits which appear in a Sophia Webster presentation show a lot more skin than one would when running around London.

A flock of metallic rainbow butterflies gently perched on a thin veil of silk or dangling from an ankle strap for what can only be described as an ideal shoe situation. The shoe shown above is definitely my favourite piece from the entire collection, even though it's not very practical for a girl as clumsy as me! Still, one can't help but drool over shoe escapism and pieces which can't be mass produced on the high street. Honorable mentions to all the cute novelty, beaded purses which are budding for a place within the ethereal realm of haute couture. When something includes as many colours as these butterfly heels do, my mind begins racing with thoughts of the different ways they could be styled. Habitually I think of clothes I don't own but want to buy, rather than pieces from my own closet. I have yet to curb my way of thinking, but until then I envision wearing these shoes (ha- I wish! not on my current salary) with a pastel pink two-piece or duster jacket.

Images: 1-41 via Madame and 42- 46 via i-D.

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