For Marques'Almeida, it's all about appeal. From their candid social media presence to their gluttonous scrapbook of references and easy, organic casting, the brand's approach is always engaging. You get the sense that both the people behind the clothes and the girls in these clothes are fun and free, not to mention cool.
Backstage at the show at The Vaults in Waterloo, Paulo said, 'We want to make clothes the girls feel cool in.' Rather than dictating what their version of cool is, this season the duo were directly inspired by the girls they work with. Looking at their Instagrams, Marta and Paulo saw their girls in Buffalo boots, biker jackets and cargo pants. Three of their models are sisters whose mother used to walk for Lacroix - they favour a roughed-up Renaissance look, wearing their mother’s vintage bodices and corsets. For A/W 18, these tropes and attitudes were pulled straight from the screens, re-imagined with the unique M'A touch and put back on the girls.
Marques'Almeida shows always look like the girls arrived wearing the collection. The garments look totally natural on the models, and today, the inverse inspiration process accentuated this. Gone were last season’s sweet country vibes, inspired by Dolly Parton lullabies to their newborn baby. What came instead was punchy and punky. A print inspired by ripped posters on the tube was worn on a dress and matching coat, while low-slung, zipped motorcycle trousers took on a feminine appeal in reds and baby blue. The Marques'Almeida Buffalo boot appeared, arguably a little late to the game, but nonetheless there it was.
The strongest pieces nodded to historical dress; brocade trousers, leg of mutton sleeves and corsets were paired with slouchy denim. A black dress exposed the collar, shoulders and a semicircle of midriff, while bunching in at the knees - a modern, M’A take on Lacroix’s iconic eighties 'le pouf' skirt? Bold stripes returned - this time in pink and black - and looked masterful on asymmetrically draped skirts under oversized jumpers.
The show was powerful, the collection perhaps a little darker than usual. A lightness of touch was found in the collaborative work with Louise Gray. Gray is a serial collaborator and her vibrant and individual touch will no doubt propel customers to snap up these pieces. I can already picture fashion journalism students sitting in the library, proudly wearing the second look in the show, a roomy turtleneck jumper with 'POWER WOMAN' emblazoned on it in Gray’s signature hand.
The feeling of 'they’ve done it again' hasn’t become old for Marques'Almedia quite yet. Although I’m still more taken when they create collections with a softer edge, the cool commences and the brand is as appealing as ever.