Last season Emilio de la Morena took his muse to Ibiza. This season he follows her fearless, high-octane glamour to unlikelier terrain to explore questions of femininity and identity. There are key intersecting themes at play. One relates to the design process: how to look at the same thing in different ways.
Emilio de la Morena continues to be inspired by the art world and on this occasion it's Picasso and his harlequin. In early work, his harlequin is decorative and almost fauvist. In later work, he's cubist and later still, increasingly abstract. De la Morena applies that approach to a theme that has recurred across his work: namely the interplay between femininity and strength. Accordingly, fabrics, silhouettes and palette include the familiar and the innovative soft stretch velvets, lace and jacquards featured in some of the most successful looks of earlier seasons and here de la Morena puts them to new use alongside shimmery diaphanous jerseys and luxurious brocades in refined cocktail and evening silhouettes.
Couture construction techniques and fabric innovations create structure and provide an easy, powerful glamour. Dresses - knee-lenght and longer - feature corsetry and soft draping, body con silhouettes contrast with exuberant flared, full-circle skirts. Coats are typically oversized. Fabrics and ornamentation transform a menswear silhouette into an opera coat.
The palette is typically opulent, metallics dominate, dull god, gunmetal, bronze and steel - and midnight cerise and purple feature. The rhomboid pattern that characterises the harlequin's costume appears in soft, criss-crossing curves as patchwork and ornamentation.
A contrast between strength and structure on the one hand and a much softer femininity on the other recurs throughout the collections. It's also something de la Morena sees in the work and process of photographer Poly Tootal, who is nominated for the Hyères Fashion and Photography Prize in 2015. For AW 2015 she collaborates with a runway installation that places femininity and strength in the forefront of her bleak landscapes.