Bora Aksu kicked off London Fashion Week on Friday with a no-audience show at the Tate Britain. For this AW21 collection, the designer drew inspiration from the French Revolution and more particularly the life and achievements of mathematician and physicist Sophie Germain.
When she was 13 in 1789, Germain had to remain inside due to revolutionary atmosphere in the city. This is when she started to explore her father’s library and developed a passion for mathematics and physics – a world in which, as a woman, she wasn’t exactly welcome. She therefore decided to pose as a man to request lecture notes from Ecole Polytechnique and exchange on a regular basis with brilliant minds of the time.
This lead Bora Aksu to reflect on gender and the effect isolation can have on the mind, pushing people to their limits. ‘Despite the 200 years between us, I felt an immediate kinship with Sophie. The isolation and uncertainty of the last year has caused me to search for new sources of hope and creativity. Sophie’s own isolation allowed her to find the ideas that would drive her for the rest of her life. In that way she has shown me that even in the bleakest of times, there is always hope, if one choose to seek it’ said the designer.
From beautiful tailored velvet suits and French caps to boxed cashmere coats, the use of masculinity to enhance the feminine and vice versa plays a key role in this collection. Sharp tailoring is paired with soft detailing, tulle and taffeta aprons enhance the structure while adding an ethereal, almost childlike playfulness. The multi-coloured laces in navy, teal, buttercream and corn yellows are juxtaposed to create both soft and structured shapes and add a sense of vibrance and romance to the collection.