Tuesday 22nd September

| BY Claudia Croft

Roksanda: Ready-to-Wear SS21

When is a presentation not a presentation? Roksanda surprised us with a walk through unlike any other. Guests entered a modernist duplex apartment in Kings Cross encountering groups of Roksanda-clad women who didn’t just stand there looking pretty but engaged us in conversation. Models, activists, artists, they were hand-picked by Roksanda who was intent on presenting interesting clothes on interesting women.

Awuor Dit, a political science graduate and former refugee, dressed in a glorious yellow gown and discussed feminism with Noëlla Musunka, founder and CEO of the Malaika Foundation. She looked wonderful in a painterly, printed dress and talked about the girl’s school she’s opened in Congo. Honey Ross, the body positivity activist lounged on a chaise and read Susan Sontag. “It’s so important to show women’s empowerment not only in the beauty of the clothes but the beauty behind the woman,” said Dit. “We didn’t know each other when we arrived but we will keep in touch,” added Musunka.

Roksanda had already scaled back her business to two collections a year pre-pandemic. “The pace was too fast I wanted to make it more human,” she said. The designer spent lockdown musing on what kind of fashion strikes a chord. The fluid, flattering dresses she showed, referenced her archive in terms of shape and colour: vivid pinks, oranges and yellows. “Lots of things that I love,” was how she described it.

She also expanded on knitwear with sustainable cashmere separates. “I changed the collection and made it more suitable for the time we live in but kept the dream. That is important,” she said. It’s also important to have a creative response to these difficult times. Roksanda couldn’t have a fashion show but she gave us all an experience that was enriching, uplifting and memorable.

Photography by Harry Carr.