Curvy, ivory, anatomically pieced dresses, sometimes overrun with raised top-seaming like contour lines on a map: these were the opening statements by which Sophia Kokosalaki announced a change of direction. For a couple of seasons, the designer has been too caught up with complicated cutouts, strung together with folk-derived macramé from her Greek heritage. Now she’s working out a new way of conveying her distinctive signature, cleaning up silhouettes with her own brand of futurism. A child of the 80s, Kokosalaki admits that the costumes in Star Trek made an impression on her. Others might connect her latest move with the admiration for Azzedine Alaïa and the Mugler/Montana era that is currently in the air. Either way, what sets her apart is a design integrity that keeps her from making literal reinterpretations.
For fall, Kokosalaki synthesized the lessons and experiments of her past collections with a cleaner, more body-conscious look. Her cutouts, for instance, were replaced by patches of pleated metallic leather or flattened frills, implanted in necklines or at the hips, so that the motif now reads like a pattern of gilded wings. Further into the show, she developed that idea into a whole leather skirt, done in pleated tiers of copper and pewter leather. The real achievement of this collection, however, was that she never allowed herself to be distracted by the details. Kokosalaki’s strongest stroke was the definition of a concise proportion, cutting all her hemlinesdresses and coats includedto four inches above the knee and rebalancing the silhouette with the tendency to a wider shoulder. Some of her boxy coat-jackets came with military epaulets and were shown with leggings and high boots, others as glamorous edge-to-edge clutch coats with volume in the shoulder line.
Overall, though, it’s the chic femininity of Kokosalaki’s workher love of developing form-flattering dresses and the ability to adjust her vision without losing her identitythat marks her out as a fast-maturing talent.