Couture is all about attention to detail – and this show was no exception. Opulent shagreen, (shark or ray skin) used to trim the accessories and clothing even adorned the reverse side of the sumptuous invitation to the show at Claridge's.
The ‘kick’ was due to the inspiration for Oakwell’s Spring/Summer 2013 show - Hokusai’s 19th century woodblock illustration, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Japanese art and culture generally portrays a harmonious and balanced image of the nation’s society, showing calm and serene landscapes of flat water and iconic mountains, tranquility gardens and the fragility of nature in the form of cranes and wisteria. But there is the constant reminder of the destructive forces of nature.
The show began with ruffled, fringed and beaded designs, reflecting the foaming waves of a tsunami. The ensuing serenity was embodied in outfits of neutral tones, with the lean silhouettes of 1970s inspired kimono sleeved trouser and catsuits. The regrowth of flora and fauna following the wave were represented by handbeaded and embroidered wisteria, honeysuckle, weeping willow and birds – not forgetting Oakwell’s trademark feather and seqin embellishment. Traditional Japanese hexagon woodblock prints were also intricately woven into the handcrafted designs.
Like ShopCurious, Nicholas Oakwell Couture prides itself on supporting British craftsmanship and “working with the finest artisans around the British Isles.”