February 19, 2011 London
The inspiration manifested itself most clearly in several looks with a salwar kameez feel, in particular alpaca tunics with trailing tails, layered over wide-leg trousers. There was also a souklike sensory richness in this collection, replete as it was with fuzzy screen-printed velvets, bouclé, matelassé, brocade, and jacquard. For the most part, those materials played against Yousefzada's sleek and strictly tailored leathers to good effect, though the paneled leather-and-bouclé striped garments came off a bit heavy, as did the leather and brocade dresses and gowns. Indeed, the collection as a whole seemed burdened by too much weight: For a designer so emphatically minimal, Yousefzada struggles with giving his clothes a sense of lightness and movement.
Where Yousefzada excels is in his use of color. His base palette of white and black and brackish gold was punctuated with bolts of red, hot pink, lime, turquoise, and a whole panoply of oranges. There was a real poetry to the way he worked these tones together, as in a jacket/pant combination in vivid turquoise and tomato red, or a band of lime green leather accenting a black tank. One of his key colors was an electric blue, which showed up as embroidered dervishes on the front of a few of the collection's strongest pieces, including a tailored black leather dress with a zip-off skirt. There were several zipped looks here, and the zippers were both graphic and functional: As Yousefzada explained after the show, these dresses and jumpsuits were meant to be modular, with interchangeable elements. It's hard to imagine anyone really using this designer's clothes that way, but the pieces still felt atypically playful. Yousefzada should let himself have a bit more fun.