Friday, February 24, 2017

Sophia Webster Fall 2017

If there’s one thing you can be sure of at London Fashion Week, it’s a surrealist escape created by none other than shoe and accessory designer, Sophia Webster. For Spring 2016 she created the most fantastical launderette, with resident mermaids surrounded by pearls and casually lounging in clam shells. The following season, for Fall 2016 she was inspired by Lydia Deetz and the macabre characters created by Tim Burton with the show taking place in a Gothic church. Last season we were transported to a tropical rain forest, with bright 60s-inspired designs as colorful as Sophia Webster’s Dolly Birds of Paradise, sitting in a gilded cage. This season, Webster transformed the basement of Soho record store Phonica into a winter wonderland, inspired by the giant ice sculptures and neon light’s of the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. The resulting color palette, saturated in glitter and comprised of shades of ice blue, emerald green and pale pastel pinks was a stark contrast to the designer’s previous shows. “As a brand known for color, for some time I’ve wanted to use a more minimalist backdrop, and a snowy landscape was the perfect scenario,” Sophia said. “It’s unexpected territory for me to showcase products against white, but visualizing this gave me new perspective.”

For fashion-goers and casual observers, Sophia Webster’s latest collection ‘I Scream for Ice Queens’ was an instagramabble, completely immersive experience, with the sounds of Emerald Rose Lewis greeting guests at the door. The singer was standing in front of a projection of the Harbin Ice Festival, while inches of fake snow carpeted the floor. At the center of the spectacle, ice queens sat on thrones more akin to ice sculptures but the real talking point was the larger-than-life snow globe. Last season it was a bird cage, but this season we saw women trapped within the confines of a giant inflatable snow globe. I wonder what Sophia Webster’s psychologist thinks of her creative decision to trap women in each of her collections. However, her genius cannot be denied, it gives viewers the opportunity to admire the models products from all angles and makes for some exciting photographic opportunities. Staying true to her tongue-in-cheek humor, Webster’s other inspiration for this season was none other than snow queens Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Yes, it seems not even Fashion Week is able to escape the grips of Walt Disney, rather unsurprising given that Sophia is also the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Disney princesses aside, Webster remains adamant her Ice Queens can be summed up using three choice f-words: “Frosty, fierce and fearless.” 

Ruling over the snow-dusted wonderland were ethereal women dressed in pristine white fur covered snow boots, equally fluffy hats, and frosted French manicures by Orly Beauty. Alongside the fur hats were crystal headpieces, rivaling those of the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia. However, the crystal crowns were no match for the jewel encrusted Glacier sandals, which provided a wintry take on the gladiator sandals, thigh-high and covered in a gob-smacking 3,352 crystals, each individually hand-stitched. It’s those mind-blowing statistics which are a testament to Sophia Webster’s creative vision and the dedication of her team to creating enchanting spectacles and parallel universes where her fellow fashion lovers can escape – if only for a brief moment. 

Webster’s iconic butterfly backed Chiara high heels were updated for the season in a stunning shade of iridescent green, whereas speech bubble bags and purses alike carried punchy slogans such as ‘Melt Me’, ‘Ice, Ice, Baby’ and ‘Cooler than Cool’. Alongside the Sophia Webster favorites, were the innovative show-stoppers that took everyone’s breath away. Enter the thigh-high leather boots fit for an Ice Queen, shining in all their iridescent glory and emblazoned with the sassy slogan ‘Hot Like Fire’ and ‘Cold Like Ice’, illuminated in blinking blue and red LED lights. According to Webster, they were expertly crafted but “a labor of love, my team in Brazil and I spent a long time working out the wiring for that”. I can confirm the work paid off, those boots alone are the toast of the accessories day roster at London Fashion Week! 

Images: 1, 12-13, 15-19, 21-41 via Vogue, 2, 6, 8-9, 11, via The Impression, 3, 14 via Refinery29 instagram, 4, 20 via Yahoo Images, 5 & 10 via Rex Shuttershock, 7 via Sophia Webster instagram.

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