Two things Sophia Kokosalaki does well are a leather bomber and a draped goddess dress. Working in her small sample-room-cum-studio in London's gritty Hackney, she also has good long-distance radar for mood, which this season has picked up accurate intelligence about militarism and a certain New Wave attitude. And that's what marched out, in the form of a lovely corded plissé jersey one-shoulder toga, two very current-looking twisted teal dresses shown on redheads, and a tough bomber embossed with markings that echo the frogging of a hussar's jacket.
But despite her talent and experience in her adopted city, Kokosalaki is effectively starting over as a rookie under the brighter and more unsparing lights of Paris. In this environment, even young designers' collections are judged against the technique, quality, and attention-holding coherence of the best and most brilliant. Unfortunately, this season Kokosalaki lost marks on those points, perhaps after expending too much effort on a complex leather placket and shoelace motif (gleaned from a book on Samurai armor), and struggling against budgetary constraints. But the fact that her reputation is capable of filling a room with the most-important editors and buyers (and at nearly 10 p.m., too) shows how many people are rooting for her to step up to the next level.
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