Sheer, sequins, feathers, ruffles and silk material made numerous appearances down this catwalk at London Fashion Weekend last week, adding a more complex touch to his gowns with ought making them too gaudy. Having just opened his first shop in London, Oakwell draws on the fact that couture is all about making a dress with love: some of the pieces in his collections took over 2000 hours to make! However, this truly transpired through his collection, each piece was stunning in its own right: from the off the shoulder gradient gowns to the sharp silk trouser suits.
Another striking point about his spring summer collection is the simplicity of his colour schemes. Whites, black and beige were the most prominent choices, however one or two animal prints were added in to keep the collection looking fresh. Oakwell’s use of neutral tones makes this certain collection incredibly elegant, striking the perfect balance with the vast amount of textures and detail he uses. The colour scheme is also wholly never universal: Black, whites and navy are colours which never seem to die a death like so many of their fellow colour wheel counter parts, making the odd resurrection every other season. Overall, the colours keep the look clean and striking, effusing glamour and beauty: these gowns were the ultimate silhouette of a woman.
Pattern was also used in a minimal but eye catching fashion, more often than not what could have been said using pattern was spoken through texture instead; however this didn’t completely forbid the use of bold zig zags or detailed animal print, adding an extra, fiery dimension to the collection. Perhaps the most eye-catching use of pattern work was Oakwell’s off the shoulder ruffle dresses, starting pure white at the bodice, diluting into darker shades of navy, pink or black as the fabric travelled down towards the legs. The gradient effect was eventuated by the excessive use of layered fabric at the skint.
Although his patterns may have been minimal, it can be argued that Oakwell took daring risks with his cuts. Thigh-high slits, dramatic chest lunges and off the shoulder bodices made their mark on the runway, creating a sophisticated image, turning what could be considered a “girls” couture collection into one fit for a real woman. These cuts may have been borderline devilish, but they didn’t take an ounce of the elegance away from the collection, as a matter of fact, they only added to the universally flattering nature of Oakwell’s lovingly made couture pieces.
This collection was unlike the ready to wear and vast majority of couture collections showcased at all fashion capitals, Oakwell commented at the end of his showcase that when creating a dress for a client, his goal is to make sure that they feel beautiful and want to enjoy every second of wearing it. This ethos was certainly present as the models sashayed down the catwalk, exuberating not only on air of beauty, but that of confidence, an asset attributed to only a handful of women. Perhaps Oakwell sews this virtue into the pieces he creates, or perhaps it’s the simple way they make the person wearing them feel. This collection was created with love: not stitches.