February 20, 2011 London
In an overlap with Marc Jacobs and Louise Gray earlier this week, Koma's starting point was the polka-dot obsession of the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. He then had to figure out how to channel it in a modern but feminine way, resulting in a strict and ladylike silhouette. Koma says he tries to challenge himself and experiment every season, and he did just that today. Among the various circular motifs, there were patent leather discs embroidered onto jersey, felt on top of napa leather, wool under laser-cut leather, and photo prints created in collaboration with the contemporary Russian photographer Oleg Dou.
There was a neat progression in the way Koma turned up the volume on his dotty look, starting subtly in Sam Cam-appropriate black and nude with black fox cuts and collars, and then twisting it and layering it with a surreal bit of Leigh Bowery-ness and sharp, controlled shots of Kusama color. Some found the bright fur pompoms a bit silly, but to Koma's credit, he used them quite minimally—and they did the work they were supposed to, making the less obvious color on a look pop. After Koma's morning show, Britain's First Lady also attended Christopher Kane and Erdem, as well as Burberry. This designer might just be ready to share that excellent company.