Elephantasia spring/summer 2018 collection catwalk show for LFW
We hear of the phrase “making a statement” in conjunction with fashion all too much, rarely however, do we witness a collection that functions as such a powerful statement on the very nature of the industry itself, encouraging change for the better. Founded to initiate the abolition of poaching, Elephantasia SS18 featured garments carefully constructed by numerous international designers that bought a sense of appreciation towards the world’s most gentle creatures, illustrating a multifarious exploration of their character, appearance and heritage.
Whilst the show was rooted in a charitable cause, fashion was given an equal weighting, resulting in many garments that were very much on the trend radar. A t-shirt was emblazoned with a geometric elephant print that would undoubtedly take any art lover’s fancy and the commonly worn batwing sleeves, bell sleeves and shoulder pads were drawn upon and re-appropriated with a touch that most closely referenced elephants.
Most remarkable was every designer’s ability to use fashion as a vehicle for representation, both physically and conceptually. Much of the clothing drew upon an elephant based colour palette, from crisp ivories to shimmering greys that became iridescent against the spotlights, closely resembling the beauty that these animals exude. From the cute to the downright magnificent, every aspect was explored, from a jacket embellished with an elephant’s trunk, to an oversized fringed coat that drew the eyes to its mammoth scale. A stark sense of imagination could be noted through observing the outfits, but most importantly without sacrificing style; this was most aptly presented by a grey dress with a horizontal pintuck bodice and gathered sleeves; minimalistic yet effective, the outfit functioned as a stylish illusion of an elephant’s trunk and ears.
The gentle giant’s character was a conceptual focus for many of the designers, most evidently illustrated by a dress cinched at the waist and consisting of ruffled layers descending from head to toe. Oozing magnificence and grandeur, yet softened with an almost elemental fluidity created by the ruffles, the outfit was at one with the elephant’s nature, magnificent in its scale, but not in a manner that was imposing, but gentle. One to be marvelled at, not feared.
Featuring a diverse range of interpretations, Elephantasia SS18 successfully utilised fashion-as-vehicle for an important message without sacrificing style.
Photos: Huw Jenkins