Illustration by Kellyanna



Photography by Lucas Seidenfaden
Up first in the Fashion Mode presentation at VFS was Carlotta Actis Barone. The Italian CSM graduate presented her SS12 collection under the concept banner: 'the stolen liberty and beauty associated with prostitution'.

Drawing visuals from the opposite ends of the spectrum; Actis Barone used extravagant headpieces and a variety of floral decoder-ed clear acrylic platform stilettos. The fabrics, which ranged from delicate satins, hems of Chantilly lace and densely printed chiffons set the tone for the 6 minutes of elegance. A playsuit from the french boudoir highlighted the most provocative of looks whilst maintaining a sense of innocence through the far-east inspired make-up.

An intense contrast between the positive and negative connotations was a deep running thread. Garments varied from boldly printed kimonos, an ode to the high class childhood dream of becoming a geisha, to the anti-virginal, sensual yet restrictive rope bound bedroom silks in the form of jumpsuits and puffball mini dresses.

Bows were bound to the back of cream coats, the waists clinched with the eastern obi belts. Pastel pinks complemented the egg-shell hues as the east met the west in a marriage of polars, as explicit descriptions snaked the thighs of the orchid topped scarlet women.

After the show I caught up with Carlotta to speak to her about the collection.

How are you feeling?
 
Very happy about the result...It's my third season and it's meant to be my big season.

About the final look [a virginal bride-esque heavily structured and draped ecru gown, detailed with the intricately intertwined ropes that had been present throughout the line-up]; your collection appeared to tell a beautiful tragedy, did you intend to allow your muse a literal happy ending through the freedom of finally finding true love or was it in homage to the ill-fated tradition of geisha mizuage; in a sense a full loss of childhood innocence? 
Yes yes, it was to represent the wedding dress, you know that all my concept is about prostitution and like a sort of dichotomy between a forced prostitution and free prostitution so the bride was basically a liberation, she finally found her love.

How did you translate your concept into a visual? Were there any other key sources of inspiration you interwove?
The theme exactly was forced prostitution and free prostitution so I took imagery from a Victorian brothel and geisha looks

I can see! It almost reminds me of the BBC adaptation of 'The Crimson Petal And The White', which depicted a brothel in Victorian London. A lot of the details that just donned the catwalk ie. the oversized bows in stiff fabrics, the clinched coat towards the finale...
 
Yes exactly! It was like a fusion between east and west and I found [myself] very attracted to this. In the Victorian brothels all the lingerie, all the clothes were white and cream satin and they represent my imagery of forced prostitution while the liberated prostitution was the geisha look was very colourful, very happy.


Text: Madeleine Ayers

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