Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear
October 08, 2013 London
The first two Isa Arfen collections were marked by their matter-of-factness. Designer Serafina Sama plainly had a fanciful streak, but she indulged it sparingly. This season, however, Sama gave fancy a wide berth: One of her inspirations this time out was Paolo Roversi's photos of Romeo Gigli's late-eighties oeuvre, and she distilled that into clothes that had a dreamy quality, like the white bias-cut dresses with asymmetrical seams, or the voluminous full skirt and coat done in organza cloque the color of lemon sorbet. Sama also pushed the collection in a rather eccentric direction by collaborating with the illustrator Marcela Gutiérrez, who contributed the giant painted eye screen-printed onto a few garments; the volume on the signature Isa Arfen embellishment was turned way up as well, with drops of multicolored crystal. All of this integrated surprisingly well with the more straightforward looks, like the anoraks in duchesse satin and the striped pieces made from strips of cotton and organza. That said, this collection didn't have quite the force of the previous two—Sama's effort to expand her brand's vocabulary was praiseworthy, although it entailed a slight loss of focus. But this designer is one with an instinct for simplicity, and, ultimately, she called on it this season to keep the flourishes in check.