Emilio de la Morena Reconsiders Body-Con-------
There’s body-con, and then there’s body-con. London designer Emilio de la Morena has earned a solid following in the U.K. for his signature shrink-wrap-tight dresses. In fact, it’s solid enough that de la Morena was invited to show on the official London fashion schedule this season. But for Spring 2010, his fifth collection, he pursued a different kind of body consciousness, courtesy of artist Annette Messager. “She was a bit like Tracey Emin, only doing those kinds of things 20 years earlier,” de la Morena explains of his inspiration.
And somehow from her motifs-fragments of body parts, sexual cruelty-the designer coaxed a collection marked by cool pastels and a new sculptural fluidity. But look closely and the Messager effect is present. A short bomber made of plasticized jersey, for instance, is covered in an almost opaque tulle-a reference to the artist’s frequent use of netting. And the belts that go with de la Morena’s abstract printed dresses covered with spiked plastic pearls are yet another nod to Messager.
More generally, however, the designer says he wanted to bring more softness to his line this season. “The last collection was so hard,” he said. “I was trying to do something more romantic and feminine.” The softness comes through best, as it happens, in the dresses that hew closest to de la Morena’s body-con beginnings. But now those familiar bandages are executed in a soft, micro-pleated silk and draped around the body. Think of it as body reconsidered.