This wave of Victorian romanticism sweeping across the runways at London Fashion Week is really doing many designers a massive favor. Whether it is down to Simone Rocha’s wafts of Victorian regalia or Preen’s reimagined garden party dresses seen earlier, the drive towards a more feminine sensibility is helping designers who are traditionally more hard-edged like David Koma hit an otherwise unchartered sweet spot.
Softer touches aside, the David Koma woman remains strong, independent, and perhaps even combative. If Koma’s collections at Mugler are anything to go by, the view that clothes should not only flatter but also protect seems to be the designer’s mantra. It has always been a palpable proposition for women looking to feel empowered in their clothes. Those key sensibilities still ring true in today’s show, as Koma worked on his classic silhouette-sculpting aesthetic, referencing martial arts as the starting point. Obi belting, streamline seams that shape the body, and leather reworks of traditional bodices lend the collection the Koma brand of athleticism.
The melding of masculine-feminine/hard-soft became really pronounced in the perfectly tailored one-piece with high-waisted paperback trousers. Clever twists were also made apparent: zipper details used in place of boning, fuller sleeves belted around the cuffs, and tulle skirts which came away from the body, giving movement that was unexpectedly flirty for the Koma girl. The designer also introduced crystal embellishments that took this newfound romanticism further. By the 20th look, the baby blue pleat skirt with the appliqué bodice had the audience thoroughly effused. Kudos to Koma for not shying away from the challenges of seasonal trends and portraying a willingness to explore beyond his comfort zone – the outcome was a genuine newness that gave the audience something to write about.