The Namilia AW17 presentation was an epic mash up of fairytale and fantasy. The show opened with orchestral disney songs including iconic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ tunes, and when a track that sporadically spat “I can get dick anytime I want” distorted and disrupted the traditional scene, you knew we were in for an exciting and dramatic show.
Namilia designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl certainly made a splash with these pieces. Known for creating fashion that centralises sexual deviance and rebellious punk youth culture, this collection focused on disrupting stereotypical depictions of the repressed and demure women of Asian and British heritage. The majority of the collection contained Chinese floral brocade silk, as well as some iconic mermaid fin pant looks, and an enormous squid creation that engulfed models as they sauntered down the runway. Rather than being simply subjects of the sexual, the show played with stereotypes, subversion and rebellion as the lyrics “I can get dick anytime I want” did not cease its rapid and intermittent fire, bombarding the gallery with each and every look.
Giant cut outs, an influx of g-strings pant suits, and giant bobbling inflatable drag-esque boobs donned lacy white wedding gown-like pieces, drawing on a 17th century fairytale, reminiscent of what what a princess or a ‘lady’ would wear. Billowing silk sleeves and panniers to boot, there was a strong rebellious and sexually aggressive attitude. The vagina was a recurring motif; vagina shoes, vaginas trailing up legs, vaginas as large gaping sleeves and the closing number- an extravagant structural dress with so many vaginas it looked like some sort of monstrous fashion glory hole of your freakiest dreams, or sweetest nightmare. This was a ‘fuck you and your stereotypes, I’m in charge’, and this assertion of power intermixed in the pieces through design, resulting in a presentation that was unapologetic and bold.
Namilia has the rare ability to transport their audience into a progressive world of limitless creativity through pieces that are highly conceptual, camp and daring. This collection was mind bogglingly fantastical and subversive, and the shoes alone stunned any onlooker. Following in the rebellious footsteps of their previous collections, this show dynamically asserted itself and provided a creative explosion to the dreary bulk of overly commercialised ready to wear looks that saturated New York Fashion Week.
Review by Lexi Laphor, Images by Natalie Black.