Fashion week for me can be a little bit of a blur, but one show that I always remember, no matter what season, is Bora Aksu and that’s because he always delivers something beautiful, romantic, and utterly dreamy, but oh so wearable. I remember it each season as his collections always stands out for its intricate detailing, gorgeous colours, and beautiful make-up. For spring/summer 2016, it was no different, I was in awe at the gorgeous colour palette starting with frothy pink, dusky grey and white and leading into vibrant deep orange, pink and yellow hues, as well as the sheer panels over Granny-esq florals, the elegant tailoring, and the beautiful vintage feel to the collection inspired by his childhood memories.
I’ve been a fan of Bora Asku for a while and he is a designer that has embraced bloggers and social media, you must follow him on Instagram to see his incredible sketches, and I was thrilled when his team said I could come and hangout with him in the run-up to the show. So I went down to his studio in East London and was in heaven, watching his interns adorn the beautiful looks with more embellishments, the seamstress stitching together the intricate lace fabric, as well as the witness the hair and make-up trials, and that’s without getting giddy over the studio itself which has dolls and mannequins everywhere. I think a separate post on his studio is needed.
As well as all this I got to sit down with Bora and chat about his inspiration for his SS16 collection, why he loves fashion week and a few sneaky questions on who he would dress on the red carpet and what a Bora Aksu Barbie would wear.
So what does inspires Bora Aksu?
The SS16 collection really is beautiful and the inspiration came from childhood summers spent at his family’s country house in Turkey, as well as the photographs taken by Etheldreda Laing of two sisters playing in a garden.
“I pictured a garden, with girls lying down enjoying the sun and a picnic, and then I found these photographs by Etheldreda Laing of these two sisters, who were always wearing pastels and beautiful dresses in an Oxford garden,” explains Bora. “I just loved all the colours, they had a painting quality to them, and there was a timelessness about them, they might have Victorian-style hair, but the clothes could have been now.”
Bora added: “Then I start designing the pieces around the garden, thinking they would wear this in the garden and then this to play games, it’s like a garden party of girls. Then I thought about all the textures of the garden, the pinks, the whites and then the sky looks beautiful, so I’ve tried to reflect that on the clothes, so, for instance, I wanted to bring the rose petals and clouds onto the clothes.”
Texture is one of Bora’s signature styles and this collection sees sheerness and lace mixed in with light silk tulle, silk organza and floral prints, which were my favourite aspects of this collection, and it was incredible to see his interns adorning the floral pieces with embellishments to add another dimension to the statement print.
“The floral print is on a simple cotton, by adding the embellishments it’s taking it from simple to a more couture level by just bringing in texture and layering detail,” said Bora. “I like that process of transforming something very ordinary, like simple fabric, and making it into something very extraordinary.”
Romanticism is always seen in Bora’s work, and for me this comes through in his feminine dresses, however, over the past few seasons there really has been a step up in separates and I think they worked perfectly in this collection. “I’m obsessed with the overall look and I do like to add more combinations, so you can wear this jacket with this or that, and from a commercial point of view a shirt or a skirt might be a little more approachable than a statement dress,” said Bora.
There’s always a cohesive journey through Bora’s collections, for spring/summer that was the developing colours of an English garden from spring to high summer and even at night, and I love that he always thinks about the overall look from head-to-toe, which was showcased perfectly with the gorgeous floral crowns.
Once again Bora Aksu has produced another great collection, I wonder if come spring he will let me play dress up? I would so love to shoot some of these gorgeous pieces.
It was such a fun, relaxed interview, as well as chatting through the collection, I also got his thoughts on red carpet dressing, FYI he would love to dress Cate Blanchett, and as Bora has the most incredible collection of dolls littered around her studio, I asked what sort of makeover he would give Barbie – imagine a super feminine dress made up of chiffon layers and of course in a flashy pink – serious Mattel sign his up!!!
Which pieces of the Bora Aksu SS16 collection caught your eye?