|Illustration by Kellyanna|
|Photography by Lucas Seidenfaden|
To chimes and flashing lights the first Masha Ma model appears! This collection was to be assertive and confident, embodied by the woman striding past me.The first look was assurance of Ma’s continuing exploration into the female form: a cute sporty dress, straight off the tennis court, consisted of an off white bib front and knife-pleated skirt.
A gold zip ran defiant down the dress front, alluring to the fetish details which ground these feminine pieces: every model wore a bondage style head piece, in innocent white, around their slicked hair.At first glance, this collection felt ultra feminine: flowing chiffon panels and hand-sewn 3D lace details. Yet it was not subversive. Ma’s desire to juxtapose radical London fashions with the assertive femininity of the French created an undeniably strong muse. A woman whose strength is owed to her stoic commitment to solely feminine fashions – there were no trousers or suits in this collection.The outfits were frequently built in layers: a bib front over a flippy skirt, over a long sheer underskirt. Leather look pocket panels, and sporty ribbed trims accented the delicate pieces, while Versailles inspired prints added pops of gold to the strict colour palette of deep midnight blues, teals, and cream.
Inspired by the reconstruction of the Château de Versailles, Ma printed images of the château’s decadent interiors directly onto the fabric surface. A print of grey stripes on a floor length dress on closer inspection turned out to be an image of a Versailles doorframe. A crescendo in the collection grew as the delicate drapery was built upon in layers of satin and georgette. Folding out from the hips, the textural ruffles were a strong feminine reference.
Then hints of deconstruction began to appear, like cracks on the surface: a crinkled chiffon blouse was torn apart by a pattern of holes – a direct reference to the daring reconstruction of Versailles.Neatly frayed hems and sleeves peppered a series of mesmerizing gowns – halter-neck fronts flowing into a skirt of varying panel lengths. These backless dresses gaped, sometimes edged with a sporty rib, sometimes replaced with mesh.
A beautiful trench coat dress remains clear in my mind. Constructed in panels of silk, georgette, and lambskin, the open collar folded away gently while a judo-like belt pulled the piece together. A perfect merging of French aesthetics and a British institution.Backstage a sign instructed the models to ‘walk in the centre, with confidence’. Because with confidence in ones femininity is the only way to wear Masha Ma.
Text: Natasha Slee