At the heart of Lako Bukia’s Autumn/Winter 2012 presentation was the idea of fear-facing. Entitled Broken Mirrors, it plucked inspiration from the designer’s native Georgia, and its ancient belief that looking into a broken mirror brings misfortune. Bukia cleverly embroidered this concept into each carefully crafted garment, by adding sharp angles, metallics and a scattering of ‘glass’ embellishments to the structured silhouettes that formed the collection. Metaphorically too, Bukia wanted to play with the thought of looking into these broken mirrors herself, facing her own fears and learning to survive in the notoriously cutthroat fashion world.
Born in Tbilisi in 1987, Bukia studied Fashion Design and Textiles at the Apolon Kutateladze Tbilisi State Academy of Arts before being noticed at her first fashion show, and invited to take part in a showcase for young designers at Kiev fashion week. There the adventure began. The young designer took a foundation course at Central Saint Martins, London and a summer course at Istituto Marangoni in Milan as well as completing a second BA at London College of Fashion.
The hard work paid off, and Bukia was snapped up to present her Spring/Summer 2011 collection at the London Fashion Week Vauxhall Fashion Scout event, a platform credited with the success of a host of exciting young talent, including Felder Felder, Georgia Hardinge and David Koma.
Bukia’s influences, she admits, differ each time she designs a new collection: ‘Sometimes it can be a book I’m reading or a reference from something I’ve seen.’ Certainly, the influence of travel is clear in her work; the China and Cubart collections were inspired by red flowers she found in Asia, while home acts as a frequent muse: Autumn/Winter 2011’s Choxa was based on Georgia’s national dance costume.
The designer speaks a lot about strength, from gazing into broken glass and proving her own, to the ‘strong women’ she tells us she designs for. The women Bukia has in mind are real, and many things at once: feminine, sensitive, intelligent; ‘they want to stand out from the crowd.’ Likewise, her clothes carry the same complexity as well as a sense of opposition. The fragility and delicacy in some of the fabrics used, twinned with tougher, more resilient materials, strike up an aesthetic balance.
This season, the palette was limited: strictly blacks and silvers, in an array of fabrics that made you want to reach out and touch. The theme of challenge continued: glittering, palazzo trousers paired with pointed-collared shirts; transparent, gauzy fabrics courting thick opaque leathers; playful proportions and textures constantly juxtaposing one another. The finale gown was the ultimate in contrast: a diaphanous, floor-length, black silk gown, decorated with a mosaic armour of silver, gleaming mirrors.
Bukia tells us that this is her dream job. ‘The only thing I wish for is to become a big fashion house that will always be known in the history of fashion.’ And for such a young brand, with such excellent promise, who knows what the future will bring? One thing’s for sure: Lako Bukia is fearless.
For more information about Lako, visit her website.