Inside David Koma Spring/Summer 2020 London Fashion Week Show
The wildlife collection is a fashion institution. Since the dawn of modern dressmaking, designers have experienced the mesmerising beauty of life on the savanna and interpreted these natural wonders in their own work. In an age more crucially concerned with natural conservation than ever, David Koma travelled to Kenya to see the magic with his own eyes. What he found in the Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy captivated and compelled him to unravel the elements of East African fauna through his signature modernist-futuristic lens.
The Spring-Summer 2020 collection, which marks the 10th anniversary of the brand, portrays the power of these grasslands and the creatures that inhabit them. Rather than interpreting the motifs of animals through customary print fabrics, David Koma illuminates the stripes of zebras through printed silk tulle macramé in black and white thread-work, as well as in glasslike transparent sequins evoking water.
The zebra graphic is featured across tailoring, dresses, jumpsuits and tops retained in contemporary takes on the silhouettes of the 1960s. Here, a heightened proposal of daywear in masculine crisp cotton shirting and sculpturally tailored trousers is introduced.
In the surface decoration synonymous with the work of David Koma, knitwear studded in matte metal domes and dresses embroidered with three-dimensional laser-cut plexiglass with studded centres hint at the textures of reptilic skin. In flou, silk tulle dresses in sunray pleats and dresses in shiny satin nod at the dynamic landscapes of the savanna, from the sun-drenched to the rain-soaked.
Finally, raffia detailing adds jaunty dimensions to lines, cementing an admiration for the natural volumes of these dramatic animals. The colour palette reproduces David Koma’s memories of the Ol Jogi savanna, from the deep sky blue that hovers above it to the golden orange of the piercing sun, and the ever-changing whites and blacks that shade and highlight the plains.
Intensifying a sense of embellishment, the characteristic heads of zebras and rhinoceros are imitated in hardware, on belt and cufflinks. It sets a new baroque tone for David Koma, echoed in insect-themed resin jewellery and decorative porcupine quill elements.