This season designer’s Natalia Alaverdian love of films acts as main inspiration as she directs, as much as designs, her AW20 collection for A.W.A.K.E. Mode – presented at London Fashion Week. A spirit of cheeriness and sporty ease lives in zipped-up fine-knit track tops, offset by the drama of a black silk frock coat, or the Kubrickian melodrama of an iridescent tailored twin-set.
This season Alaverdian imagines playwrights prodigies and geeks. The Royal Tenenbaums, Wes Anderson’s 2001 masterwork fans will no doubt sense some of its preppy spirit in the garments. Boys in bands offer as much inspiration as female front-women, Jim Morrison starring front-and-centre on the mood board. Alaverdian weaponises the wearer with a contained wit that’s entirely hers.
Much of this work deals in ‘interruption’ – an impulsive flash of zebra cotton twill at the cuff of a blazer sleeve; shimmering sequins set against heavy herringbone checks. There’s a Space-Odyssey-strangeness and brilliance to holographic hero pieces – to the touch, they feel like paper, some almost like tarpaulin. Pleated lamé flows throughout. Masterfully tailored day dresses appear alongside taken-apart and remixed suiting, offering exuberance mixed with calm reassertion of house signatures pieces.
A.W.A.K.E. Mode’s accessories offering, which continues to take off as an enormous part of the brand’s global business, is once again expanded. Alaverdian considered the pieces a kind of ‘armoury for space creatures’ – tassled leather mules, turbo-sized quilted bags, sculpted metalwork. The jewellery is fluid, almost alien. There is no such thing as straightforward simplicity in the world of A.W.A.K.E. – executed in vegan leather, the accessories collection is a meaningful example of the madness, method, and technical perfectionism which this label does so well.