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Peter Pilotto's SS19 Fashion Show is an Inconsonant Celebration of Culture and Tradition

For Spring/Summer 2019 (SS19), the multicultural duo behind the eponymous label, Peter Pilotto, presented a collection that was as diverse as their respective heritages. Pilotto paid homage to his Austrian roots, taking inspiration from early 20th-century festive Viennese glasses. As for De Vos, he shone the dimmed red limelight on the vibrant colours of his Peruvian background.

As hedonistic as it must have been to swoon over the resort-heavy collection while sipping festive cocktails, the wanderlust had a short expiry date. In a matter of 20 minutes, the holiday blues and dreary British weather would kick in. On September 5th, it was announced that the European Union rejected Prime Minister, Theresa May's, Brexit Chequers Plan. The following week, the Evening Standard reported that the international markets predict a decline in the value of our currency of 10-15%. If this knocks consumer confidence in Britain, there could be a domino effect on the relevance and sales of resort-wear. Nonetheless, Pilotto's profits may be protected by the cushioned bank accounts of its affluent clientele- a coterie of art collectors and society women.

This season signifies the revival of Orientalism- a style that was popularised in the early 20th century by French Couturier, Paul Poiret, and Léon Bakst; costume designer for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. The Musée Yves Saint Laurent in Paris has even launched its first temporary thematic exhibition, ‘Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient'. On display are emperor gowns and silk brocade jackets from the late designer’s Autumn/Winter (AW) 1977 'Les Chinoises' collection. One of the highlights from Pilotto’s show was a sunset ombré brocade trench coat, embroidered with metallic fiesta red and golden chinoiserie. The kimono obi-inspired belt, fastened with a mother of pearl orbital buckle, cinched the waist. For the finale, there was a head-turning 1920s Vionnet-triangular clutch cape embellished with pink peacock poppy appliqué.

Pilotto's show highlighted the burgeoning popularity of ropes and tassels for the upcoming spring. They sewed the trimming to controversial Moroccan Fez-inspired hats, which were a former symbol of nationalism and are now worn by members of the country's Royal court. Meanwhile, tassels of assorted colour hung from globe shaped pearl-beaded cross-body bags- a tribute to the duo's international circle of friends. At Paris Fashion Week, Chloé followed suit, sending models down the runway in bohemian-inspired rope belts.

There was a sense of uniformity within the collection concerning prints and shapes. Watercolour landscape print silk dresses with Victorian collars and sheer organza gowns embossed with Amazonian foliage glistened against the romantic lighting. Poufy bishop sleeves were another repetitive design feature in the collection. The cuffs were mostly fitted, although there was an intermittent appearance of feminine frills. However, necklines had an imagination of their own. From titillating plunging V-neck pleated lamé gowns to conservative frill neck jumpsuits, there was something to suit women across the spectrum of confidence and modesty.

The looks were contemporary and tailor-made for the modern jet setter, but the production of the show felt as historic as the designers' references. Guest and fashion editor, Lynn Yaeger, even used Pilotto’s show as an opportunity to catch up on her sleep. The looks were not the only out-dated element of the show. The landscape of fashion shows and marketing are changing, and Pilotto is lagging behind like a turtle in a rat race. For SS19, Edeline Lee organised an immersive theatrical spectacle, while Anya Hindmarch invited the public to sink into the largest world’s bean bag inspired by her chubby cloud motif in the Banqueting Hall, London. The dinner-cum catwalk experience, entailing artisan canapés and elite, 'member's only' venues is just too predictable, and fashion, especially during this epoch of flux, is not.

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