From dressing the Victoria's Secret's Angels to adding feathers to the high-street fare of Comptoir des Cotonniers, Serkan Cura has been shaking his tail feathers quite energetically recently. For his summer couture show, he chose a gritty concrete setting to present his high fantasy world. His muses are not angels, but they are goddesses and women of myth and legend: Circe, Medusa, Hera or Athena stalked the runway. Dionysius even made an appearance. It could have been a 300 moment, all gussied up in a fully laced chest plate that enhanced an enviable six-pack, but the softness of the lace structure felt indulgent and reminded us of the fact that not that long ago — and sometimes still today medically — men wore corsets too.
It was not immediately visible, but Cura seemed to have evolved from the intricate show-only pieces that established him in the first place. Some silhouettes looked positively like the kind that more radically tasteful starlets would wear on red carpets — perhaps more the music crowd than the more conservative movie one — like that dress with trailing fringes that cascaded to the ground. Or even the fluffy opening looks, crop top and trousers paired with a backpack. Although supremely crafted, they had an easiness about them. But the designer's craft is evident everywhere, even when you're not looking at a lightweight geometric structure that served as a dress. Under the fluffy borders, criss-crossed lacing structures could be perceived. Later, the same structure reappears, unadorned and displaying not only the mastery with which it is constructed, but also the adequation with the body wearing it. Raw leather corset telegraphed animality, but also the secret tension that exists with the underlying structure. After all, are we not all creatures of architectured bone, draped in skin?
But beyond the immediate appeal of Cura's work, there is the notion that he is preserving ancient crafts: first the feathered treasures of Maison Février, and now word has it that he has also snapped up much of legendary corset maker Mr Pearl's archives. Without skills like these and, more importantly, people like Serkan Cura, haute couture would be nothing but a dead art of over-worked frocks.