Inside The ESCADA Spring/Summer 2019 Runway Show
In the late seventies, Margaretha and Wolfgang Ley had only recently embarked upon building a brand together when they decided to photograph one of their earliest collections at a racetrack. After seeing a horse named ESCADA preparing in the stalls, they were so particularly inspired by its energy that they decided to name their company after it, and their audacious aesthetic came to define the decades that followed.
40 years later and, for his debut runway collection for the house, global design director Niall Sloan has chosen to explore the facets upon which they built ESCADA: both that fortuitous sighting as well as the house’s iconic visual codes.
ESCADA has long been rooted in confident femininity, and here its renowned power suiting and Working Girl aesthetics have been given a modern update. Original tailoring patterns have been updated and re-rendered in sculptural nylon silk twill; archival tweeds reinterpreted by original mills with new lightweight yarns; glossy briefcases formed from saturated abrasivato leather. Shirting is cut loose and louche, and luxurious fabrics are treated with innovative practicality.
Elegant evening wear has an unrestrained ease: candy-coloured cocktail numbers cut in light crepe de chine; animal-print dresses draped in devore velvet. This is ESCADA’s wardrobe for modern women: determinedly independent, and thoroughly pragmatic.
The brand’s beginnings, through that trip to the races, are examined through: interpretations of jockey silks, stretch viscose sportswear and Hannah Murgatroyd’s lively equestrian prints. Illustrated shirtdresses find new glamour when formed from double silk satin; paddock jackets in quilted cashmere silk, or leather skirts bonded with racing stripes, marry contemporary sportswear with luxurious refinement. A nostalgic look at everyone’s favourite nineties movie Pretty Woman brings familiarity and whimsy.
Throughout the collection, Sloan’s new house emblem — a golden heart, adapted from a vintage ESCADA perfume bottle — appears as a recurrent motif, stamped upon fabrics, suspended from jewellery, sewn in radiating rings onto handbags. It succinctly embodies his vision for ESCADA: a bold optimism, proudly rooted in the house’s history but ever evolving it into the future.