AN underground venue for a very underground designer, the infamous Old Vic tunnels was the venue for the Sorapol autumn/winter 12 show. Guests were welcomed with a bar full of complimentary drinks along with goodie bags that awaited them at their seat. A few well known faces graced the front row such as Boy George and designer Christian Blanken, giving the already electric crowd something else to gossip about.
The graffiti ridden tunnels hidden underneath the busy streets of London set the scene perfectly for the designer’s Russian Revolution inspired collection, acting as a sort of air raid shelter when the screams of gunfire and bombs blasted out over the sound system. Vast amounts of steam billowed from the drapes at the end of runway, as the guns died out and a sinister yet beautiful classical tune played out from the live pianist and violinist the first model began to emerge with barely any pace at all. Unlike many other catwalk shows where the models stomp down the runway as if they are being hunted, this was not the case at the Sorapol show. The models walk was slow and somber; it almost looked as if they were gliding, adding to the tense atmosphere of the show.
The collection branded ‘Iron Grip’ “triumphs in expressing the intensity of Visalia’s tale” ( an orphaned girl adopted by Vladimir Illyich Ulyanov, who we know as Lenin) showcasing the beauty and brutality of Russia during the Revolution. Using rich fabrics and vivid colours and beautifully detailed garments where the origins of Russia are referred to in every piece." The clothes themselves were shockingly stunning, exquisite detailing and enough fur to satisfy Cruella herself.
The garments took on the shapes and silhouettes of many of Russia’s iconic cathedrals. Structured amour dresses that shaped the body un-naturally which was to echo the “repression felt among society before the Russian Revolution”. Embellishments of pearls and gold were rife; a particular stand out piece was a black lace gown draped in of course fur, reminiscent of an Alexander McQueen piece as the model clutched a black skull as she shuffled down the runway. Another crowd pleaser looked as if it had been stolen from the White Witches’ wardrobe, a white and gold dress, a wonderfully white fur stole and icicle detailing firing out from the bodice, framing the models sliver face. A pearl encrusted military jumpsuit was a particular favorite of mine, every bit reminiscent of a Russian official but with girlish charm of a princess.
The creativity didn’t stop at the clothes; headwear was as every bit as important. Oversized classic Russian ushanka hats were the perfect accessory along with gem coated military helmets and a golden gasmask.
The clothes were every bit as impressive as the atmosphere and the venue, surreal and sinister but beautifully crafted, making Sorapol one to watch. This was no ordinary show and he most definitely no ordinary designer.