As ever, Braganza’s dark, empowering aesthetic was on top form yesterday morning at his autumn/winter 2014 show.
Inspired by the narrative of Post-Renaissance baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, the collection depicts the artist’s struggle to succeed within the fine art world in a misogynistic society. Channelling her rage of her discontent through her artwork, Braganza’s collection semaphores the artist’s emotion and personifies the powerful, rebellious female.
As former Fine Art student, it’s clear that Braganza’s studies inspired his use of monochromatic, painterly brush strokes that were printed on duchesse silk throughout the collection. ‘I was thinking of chiaroscuro in the baroque paintings, and how especially with Gentileschi, the contrast between dark shadows and illumination in her work was so intensely reflected in her life,’ says Braganza. ‘Here I have combined structure with softness, formality with fluidity and toughness with femininity.’
These key contrasts were shown through block panels of textures consisting of nappa leather against oxblood, deep petrol navy, and shimmering silver and black tessellations. The industrial colour palette only added to the stern mood of the show, whilst the juxtaposition of these materials seemed to represent the many facades of the artist; her unpredictability and her femininity, vulnerability and strength. Gentileschi’s heroines of her artwork were also printed onto boxy tunic tops and mid-length skirts, epitomising and championing the artist’s adoration of powerful women.
This was further reinforced by the tailored power pieces of the collection; think top heavy, structural wrapping, exaggerated shoulders, floor-sweeping skirts and micro pelmet skirts. As a collection, it showed Braganza’s obsession with sci-fi, futuristic silhouettes and moody, galactic, ethereal prints. Like his previous collections, this one is not for the fainthearted.
The theme of power was reinforced through the high tempo, heavy bass of Auphelion, who remixed a custom composition for the show. Even the models seemed to almost stomp along the runway in a redemptive strut, with heavily lined eyes and scraped-back hair finished with thick braiding.
Braganza’s collection seems to develop on the current art trend we saw at Chanel and Céline for SS14, in the form of graffiti, pop art prints and expressive brush strokes in a palette of primary colours. However, for AW’14, Jean-Pierre Braganza has taken a dramatic turn on the trend, in the form of moody hues, no nonsense silhouettes and iridescent textures. Beware the Braganza woman.
London Fashion Week SS14 runs from Friday 14 to Tuesday 18 February. Stay tuned for further coverage.