HAVE you ever thought that an octopus could be sexy? Neither did we, but London-based designer Flik Hall begs to differ. Hall’s esoteric Spring/Summer offerings, herald the coming tide of what’s set to be great about fashion next season; namely a fresh, phantasmagorical take on prints and a continued devotion to new ways to wear old staples.
From sweet, sea-spray coloured sleeves, edged with that pulpy tentacle print, to functional harem-style jumpsuits and structured bodies, peppered with sucker-like eyelets.
Take Hall’s spin on the classic tubular pencil dress. Flatteringly tailored and sliced with laser-sharp precision, a bold cut-out panel reveals an arc of skin across the torso (fashion’s new erogenous zone?). It’s modest yet daring and without as much as a hint of cleavage in sight.
But what about the octopus?
“I worked directly with real octopi for an accessories collection,” Hall says, “so the textures that I used throughout my Spring/Summer collection resonate closely with the palette and touch of an actual octopus.” The result is a range emblazoned with high-tech looking prints in globular shapes and fleshy or inky hues. Set against panels of skin-like sheer or leathery fabrics, the result is undeniably mollusc, but it works.
“I find that sometimes I might not realise that something has inspired or even interested me,” she says, “but it emerges later as a much stronger idea… I find it fascinating that we are drawn to certain things but we don’t know why.”
Inspiration for previous collections of Hall’s have ranged from her father’s fastidious attention to timekeeping through to graveside eulogies to infants in Mexico. As part of that collection, titled ‘Mannequin Parade’, the stand out piece was a necklace made of life-sized plastic babies’ limbs. Not to everybody’s taste, but a bold move in the direction of reasoned outlandishness that still characterises her designs.
It makes stylistic sense that Hall had worked at Giles, (for whom the term ‘statement’ could have been made for) before starting her own label as a graduate. “I loved the energy at Giles and how experimental it all was,” Hall tells us, “It was rewarding because we were working on beautiful pieces, and when they were all finished it felt like it was really worth it… But if I never tried to start my own label, I’d always be wondering ‘what if?’”
As any artist worth their weight in salt knows, there’s no creativity without tension, and this latest collection swims the line between pretty and ethereal and pared-down utility. From sweet, sea-spray coloured sleeves, edged with that pulpy tentacle print, to functional harem-style jumpsuits and structured bodies, peppered with sucker-like eyelets.
Hall is keen to expand her label into footwear, eventually, but with the label still relatively young she is keen to be creative when it comes to business as well as fashion. What about doing a show? (Florence Welch popping out of a shell to provide the soundtrack, as seen at Chanel, seems to fit so perfectly.) “I like the idea of doing a show, but I don’t feel it is the only way to market a brand,” she says with suspense.
Either way, Hall’s Spring/Summer ’12 collection is certainly healthy and humorous reply to the ever-recurring nautical trend that crops up every spring. With such delectably quirky items, we’re sure you’ll agree that calamari is all well and good, but who wants to eat seafood when you can wear it like this?
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