You may remember Dilara Findikoglu from last year’s Central Saint Martins BA Fashion press show – or rather from the Encore show which took place amidst the fountains as the audience and press were leaving. This Encore show was masterminded by Findikoglu, the Turkish designer with a rebellious spirit who instead of accepting the disappointment of not being selected for the main show, decided to do things her own way. She’s been doing things her own way ever since – this may be her LFW spring/summer debut, but in the year since she’s graduated she has become something of a fashion darling, not only for her clothes – which are amazing – but for how deeply fascinating she is. Findikoglu’s intelligence and internal reference database is already massively advanced, and the fact that she is able to take inspiration from things that might pass other designers by is what makes her so super special. The elfin designer looks like a punky, tattooed superhero/mythical creature, and is frankly the best advert for her own clothes, which she consistently presents on women with an unusual look about them, this season including Adwoa Aboah, kickass model and founder of GURLS TALK.
Who Run the World?
From her graduate collection to now, Findikoglu has slayed with her theatrical representation of women, subverting the nuances of gender and offering us a good dose of sexiness too. This season her starting point was Shakespearean England, where women were famously barred from appearing on stage and so female characters had to be performed by men, usually with great comic effect. This meant that female portrayal, was totally in the hands of men. Equally important to Findikoglu is the contentious subject of women in Middle Eastern cultures, from where she herself hails. Everything from domestic chores to the law is written with a male bias, and a lot of women get a pretty raw deal. Those who followed the Çilem Doğan case will recognise the title of this collection “Dear past, thanks for the lessons,” as being the slogan worn by Dogan as she was lead to jail for killing her abusive husband. It’s a tricky subject to negotiate, but Findikoglu thrives on being a provocateur.
The SS17 presentation took place in a Soho strip club, complete with incense and candles, like a shrine to womanhood. The collection itself was salacious and bold, highly textural and of course, decorative. Mixing elements of corsetry with athleticwear and suiting, Findikoglu’s vision for spring/summer is both eclectic and empowering, to be worn in confident celebration of the female body. Thigh-high PVC boots, tattoo prints, lacing, leather and the ubiquitous black and white check that Findikoglu so loves have all the makings of a collection which is highly editorial, but would look even better on film. The sound of decorative trinkets which clatter as they move, the flash of metal on a belt strap, the painted graphics by Hetty Douglas and Sezer Arici and the tinkle of a My Flash Trash charm bracelet – it’s the tactile qualities and the dynamism that make Findikoglu’s work so special. The women are powerful, controlled, ballsy and confident, they have to be seen to be believed.