LFW – Turk Jadallah S/S 2013 collection
Probably the most ostentatiously decadent spectacle at Fashion Week, British/Saudi designer Turk Jadallah sent an extravagant parade of hand-finished dresses down the ballroom at Claridges, while guests tried to demolish a never ending supply of champagne and canapés. The rarefied environment was strictly couture, a flight of fancy. In these economically uncertain times lavishness such as this could be deemed bad taste, but it can’t be denied that this elite world will always exist and continue to buy. The front row seats were saved for people whose names began with HRH: opposite was a woman with a lacquered up-do like Claudia Cardinale, and another in a diamond ring that kept blinding us as it caught the light. Even the photographers at the end of the runway, usually no-nonsense men in hoodies, included a dapper gentleman in a velvet suit.
While the first few dresses were a little mystifying, little by little a theme emerged: the frills, the beading, the colour scheme of pink, black and white, fishtail skirts so tight the models walked achingly slowly, sheer voluminous sleeves and satin finishes from another time. The ultimate sweet 16; a teen film prom night; Ascot opening day in My Fair Lady. This last was actually right on the money, as Jadallah cites Audrey Hepburn as the influence for this collection.
At first doubtful, we started to love the exaggerated ruffles finishing the skirts, the equestrian rosettes, the marabou and fur trim, that bubblegum pink, tiered capelets over the shoulders, 60s Funny Face ruff-collars, trains trailing in fabric flowers. As a love letter to Hollywood costumes, it was bizarre yet effective. As exclusive couture, judging by the murmuring around us, it would sell. In a purely imaginary scenario we would wear it to our own birthday parties and jump out of a cake, and then do a dance with Fred Astaire. Pure fantasy.