Set in the faded 19th century grandeur of the Averard Hotel in Lancaster Gate (which now stands derelict but can be found to purchase on Zoopla for £23,000,00) Dilara Findikoglu returned to the runway for the first time in nearly three years. Having last shown in February 2020, before COVID-19 hit, the Turkish-British designer has been focusing on swimwear of late, putting her signature gothic style into corseted bathing suits and bikinis.
The brand is often worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Iris Law, Madonna, Lady Gaga and FKA Twigs, so the FROW at the SS23 show today was suitably star studded, including Josephine De La Baum, Drag Race’s Aquaria, and model Jourdan Dunn.
Maria Callas’ La Mamma Morta reverberated around the show space which was separated into rooms like a couture salon, setting the tone for the show. Sunlight streamed through the large windows as models stalked across the worn floorboards in eerie silence.
Findikoglu’s cast of widows and brides included Lily Sumner who opened the collection, followed by Lily McMenamy and Amelia Gray, daughter of Real Housewives star Lisa Rinna and actor Harry Hamlin. Perspex pleaser heels, sheer hold-ups, and Victorian-style jacquard corsets were worn with low-rise perforated denim jeans and knickers.
Findikoglu brought in contemporary references to goth subculture through pinstripes and sheer shirting, styled with neckties, and Cradle of Filth T-shirts — one was spliced together with a bubblegum pink lace-trimmed nighty.
Hair was waxy and dishevelled, as though the models had just risen from a 200-year-long nap, with red lipstick smeared across mouths. One look, that featured a Union Jack Flag, included hair styled into the shape of the St Edward’s Crown — a tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.
Distressed lace trains, the sort of detail you might see on a dress belonging to Miss Havisham or Bertha Rochester, got caught on the floorboards disturbing the dust. Towards the end of the collection, structured dresses reminiscent of the work of late designer Alexander McQueen, were coated with feathers in shades of white and blood red. Dilara Findikoglu’s London Fashion Week comeback was certainly worth the wait.