Contrary to popular opinion, fashion people eat, at least those who attended Ellen Hodakova Larsson’s first show in Paris. Each seat contained a napkin and fork; at the end of the runway was a tiered white chocolate cake that models and guests slipped out after the show, some with the utensils provided, others with their fingers. Why cake? “Well, I think it’s time to celebrate this way of working [with a lot of handcraft using existing materials] instead of just seeing the industry as a business,” Larsson said. “I think fashion brings joy – that’s why you guys start doing it, so I really want to bring that feeling back. I’m also really proud that we actually do it and spend so much time doing it together , our small team, so the cake is just a celebration for the collection.
Although she is only three seasons into her career, the spring training looks back on what came before. Woven belts return, but this time they are used to create an hourglass-curved “lady” dress. Its seductive waves contrasted with the opening look, which consisted of men’s leather shoe uppers that had a solidity that commanded the body to conform to its shape. Another deconstruction of masculinity came in the form of a reworked and waxed pinstripe skirt suit.
As Larsson interacts with vintage clothing, it’s no surprise that time is a recurring theme in her work. Last season, that was expressed, in part, through his use of wristwatches. She kinda summed up the idea this season by introducing the theme of letter writing. To drive the point a bit heavily, she worked vintage wraps into a dress and separates, but her message was powerful and pressing about focus, focus and craftsmanship, qualities that seem subsumed by a digital world swimming in pictures. The collection, said Larsson, columnist, was “kind of a reflection of the time you give yourself; I see it as a letter written from myself to myself.
The content of this “letter” mainly revolved around dresses and sweetness. The mermaid tail of a skintight one-shoulder stunner was made of a sweet burst of shirts. Bras were stuck in evening gowns that, while not derivative, seemed to be in conversation – or in correspondence – with Comme des Garçons’ “lumps and bumps” collection. The models wore wire frames as earrings. Larsson’s magic touch has turned utilitarian workwear into something romantic. Gray Swedish military shirts were fashioned into a miniskirt ensemble, and a royal off-the-shoulder dress was constructed from hospital clothing provided by Elis, an industry clothing producer and show sponsor. Another voluminous, textured dress in white was made from a textile made from scraps of fabric from Larsson’s workshop.
Shape was an important theme for spring. The bubble shapes that popped up this season appeared here. A quilted donut, inspired by 17th century quilted undergarments, widens the openwork mesh of a dress made of belts turned to the sides, and a satchel dress – the most unexpected trend of the season – is worn open in front on a shorts. Flirty and fun, it’s also been ingeniously constructed; Larsson’s magic is the ability to do a lot with a little.
“Making has to be fun…like being in an arousing, lust-driven moment,” Larsson said. The observation was fun too; the guests danced in the dim light of Paris. It wasn’t just the cake sugar rush; Larsson created an opportunity for his audience to slow down and take a moment. “Today we interact a lot, but very quickly on the Internet,” she said. “But as soon as you sit down and write a letter” – the same could be said of sharing dessert – “it kind of becomes ceremonial, and I think doing is ceremonial”. Write about!