London based designer, Ilaria Lepore, explores notions of beauty and gender by creating minimalistic, androgynous collections. To create her contemporary styles, she uses cotton, wool and leather to challenge mainstream fashion norms. By using black exclusively in her designs accentuates the shape and the cut of the pieces, as well as experimenting with shadows and silhouettes.
The presentation began with a performance to set the tone of the collection. Incense was burned, the scent of the smoke filled the room. A ritual and an expressive dance was displayed as the models glared into the eyes of the audience. The lights were low, flashing parallel to the movement, symbolising the raw physicality of humanity.
Ilaria explores concepts of sexual power, spiritual awakening and rebellion. Black leather jackets, studded around the edges with “kill your idols” painted on the back. Female models wore vinyl bodysuits and leather, lace up biker boots inciting female empowerment, with blue paint sculpted into their hair. The minimal silhouettes were taken from Ilaria’s reminiscence of punk rebellion with explorations within the extremities offered by the innate insanity. Precious wools, silks and leathers were used to create texture within the all-black outfits.
Non-from fitting pieces such as oversized knit cardigans and deconstructed trousers convey the experimentation with the human form. The peacock feather was the iconography for this presentation, feathers ran down the sides of trousers and on the cuffs of sleeves. Leather belts were a key accessory, they were wrapped tightly round the model’s thighs inferring an erotica element to the collection. Similarly, a throne-like chair was placed in the centre, covered in fabric with thick, black rope tied around in knots.
Ilaria aims to capture a variety of themes within her designs, previous collections have focused on the concepts of individuality against capitalism. Ilaria Lepore has been well recognised and been featured in Vogue Italia, I-D vice Italia and Factory Style magazine.
Words by Ellie Pinder
Photography by Rory James