London based Turkish designer Bora Aksu continues to stand out in the fashion scene and this season, his dreamy SS18 collection presented at London Fashion Week was inspired by Lady Mihri Musfik, a little-known but by no means uninfluential trailblazer – a brave and extraordinary woman who gave up a privileged life to pursue a passion for art and a bohemian existence. Musfik’s noble background permitted a sound education, including literature, music and painting – three things that triggered a controversial move to Paris to pursue art as a profession. Musfik returned to Turkey in 1913 to become the nation’s first contemporary female artist.
In the most romantic. yet playful collection dedicated to her, Aksu creates beautiful garments that reflects this life. Musfik’s aristocratic roots were intertwined with a bohemian existence, mirrored in the ‘kutnu’ fabric – a hand-woven textile woven in the hand looms of Gaziantep, south Turkey. This kutnu fabric is deployed throughout the collection in intense shades of deep red, pink, blue and dark navy, utilised alongside with silk organzas, cottons and silk habotais – a fabric first pioneered in Japan.
The combination of feminine fabrics and structured shapes adds a soft, but bold silhouettes. Much of the detailing is directly inspired by Musfik’s early wardrobe, with a layering effect created by recurring embroidery in graphic lines and shapes – all of which update the Ottoman aesthetic for today’s runway. We are expecting this extremly talented designer to continue putting his powerful, quirky and flirty stamp on the fashion industry.
Bora Aksu SS18. London Fashion Week. Photograph: Marc Aitken