There is a touch of Camelot (as in King Arthur, rather than the Kennedys) in the sweep of a royal cape, ruffles and leather corsets that Ellen Hodakova Larsson, an emerging Swedish designer, included in her latest. collection, which she shows digitally in Paris. This medieval fairytale vibe is enhanced by the location of the collection’s film, the stylish trompe-l’oeil interior of the 18th-century Sultan’s Copper Tents in Stockholm’s Haga Park.
The designer says she envisioned a dinner show at a castle where the royal family called for entertainment; the models and clothes they wear – each with their own story – are. “The whole concept,” she says, “goes back to the story and also pushes it forward, because I think that’s what gives us a certain authenticity at the moment. “
In Larsson’s world, authenticity is tactile, imperfect, and useful: everything is made from used or stock materials that offer roadmaps to their reincarnation and alternatives for conscious consumers. “I’m so practical, when I design I feel like I’m diving into the old construction and just trying to showcase all the crafts that are already there,” says the designer, who hopes to be able to make change in the industry in the same way that it is able to transform the finds of thrift stores into treasures. These include vintage gloves that were assembled into a miniskirt and bustier that Larsson described as surrealism in their literal “practical” message. More political are the pieces made from woven belts, including the hard-edged flap bags, which speak of consumerism and overproduction. Still, the designer says she wanted things to be cheerful and for the viewer to discover, or maybe unwind, the meaning of these special pieces, some of which are unique.
And there are pieces, particularly tailor-made, to make you dizzy. Deconstruction has been a signature of the Hodakova line since Larsson launched it a year ago, and this collection features a pinched-waist blazer with exposed stitching that has an offbeat New Look elegance. Pant / skirt hybrids abound, and pant sleeves and legs are repurposed, as are the uppers of men’s shoes, which, laid flat, resemble butterfly wings on a strapless top. Spider web dresses made from hand-threaded button strands from various vintages are also airy.