WITCH-CRAFT-WO-MAN-SHIP : MAAIKE MEKKING A/W COLLECTION 2010
First of all I have to admit that I’m pretty old fashioned when it comes to fashion shows. Call me crazy, but if I’m being presented with an entire collection, the thing I want to see first and foremost are the clothes. I’d like them to be on a model if possible, so I can see how they’d look on me (if I didn’t eat for a year), and if the model could walk up and down a bit so I can see how the clothes move that’d be just grand. Very few of my boxes were ticked at the Maaike Mekking presentation.
That said, it was a very intriguing performance. I use this word because it was more akin to a piece of performance art than an actual fashion show. Allow me to set the scene:
A Soho warehouse. Sirens blaring in the background. An eerie soundtrack courtesy of Anastasia Freygang and Joseph Xorto. A model, clad in a nude/black hand-stencilled bodysuit, lingers in front of a mirror, deciding which item of crumpled clothing she would like to wear. Clothes are everywhere; some on hangers, some littering the floor. The model (Mokik Gabriela Dorniak), lost in her own world, tries on the clothes one at a time, all the while contemplating her own identity.
Transition, duality and nostalgia are the key words Maaike Mekking uses to describe the collection. The clothing does have an inescapable vintage feel about it; a lot of the fabrics are course in texture, and it’s almost as if you are viewing the whole scene through a sepia lens. A sand coloured skirt was one of the first pieces to really stand out, as the model tried it on again and again, eventually turning it inside out. A sheer, floor-length dress created an ethereal silhouette, the dramatic stencil-printed pattern of her body suit only slightly muted underneath. A fantastic pair of parachute pants with a matching jacket made a welcome appearance, their heavy, masculine quality juxtaposed when the model jumped into the air a few times, landing lightly and watching the fabric billow around her. This playful, almost childlike theme of innocence continued throughout, so it was sort of endearing when the poor girl got stuck inside her trousers and had to wriggle out of them later on, losing only a tiny bit of decorum.
The collection is made up of natural shades; greys, browns and nudes, with the odd piece of faded denim and black detailing in zips and prints. It’s very wearable, as the model proves, but the real gems of the collection are the simplest pieces. A really beautiful cream chiffon blouse drew my attention, even when it merely hung there, gently catching in the breeze whenever the door opened. A pale, structured shift dress made an appearance toward the end, and I found myself musing about the perfect shoes to pair with it.
A sense of higher purpose and deep meaning is clearly something that Mekking communicates through her designs. Tania Leshkina’s direction is inspired, and very obviously reflects the theme of the collection on display, but the sense of performance ran the risk at times of becoming more important than the clothing itself. Influences of the iconic designers Mekking has worked for, such as Alexander McQueen and Alberta Ferretti, are evident, and her designs eye catching and unique enough to merit their own spotlight. Her ‘palatable edginess’ is just that – it’s quirky and kooky at times, but not so much so that it becomes unwearable. This is definitely a designer to keep on your radar.
ps: Not my usual sordidness, but apparently publication types like it when I tone the Ritzi down a bit… they didn’t like my Alice review quite so much!
pps: What I really wanted to say was; ‘Um, this is the most random shit I’ve ever seen. And can you quit the heavy breathing over the mic? You’d make more money doing that over the phone love.’ But I didn’t. So it’s fine.