Maria Francesca Pepe, a London based Italian designer, have managed to merge the best of those two worlds. Whereas her fabrics and fundamental view of fashion very much is coloured by her Italian heritage, the attitude and colours in the MFP collection are distinctively British, or at least have the characteristic of London. This was very much on show at her London Fashion Week autumn winter presentation. Housed in BFC’s Somerset House campus, the 30-year-old Central Saint Martins MA graduate impressed with a relatively small – but focused – collection, called ‘In the Woods’.
A few of MFP’s signature pieces – like tailored jackets and Tubular jewellery – had survived the trip to the forest, but emerged looking slightly different. The necklaces and some rings, for example, bore traces of blood. This was all in the name of Maria Francesca Pepe’s ambition to explore the “state of transition from human to animal and from life to death”. Even it doesn’t sounds too joyous, MFP created a beautiful but scary vision where opposites meet. Dark and light colours: black and dark purple mixed with white and cream shades. Hard and soft: a sheer georgette fabric shared the floor with leather, velvet and fur. See-through materials highlighted the evolution from human to animal, “baring the soul of its wearer”.
Jewellery has always been a MFP staple piece, proven by her collaboration track record (Roksanda Ilincic, Amanda Wakeley, Louise Gray etc). This season saw a strong continuation on accessories, with wolves teeth inspired belts, necklaces and buckles. Also crosses featured heavily, as both accessories and applied on t-shirts. Maria Francesca Pepe toughened up for her AW1011 collection, gave herself a tighter and less fluid look compared to earlier outings, once and for all showing that she’s a high-octane player on the London Fashion Week playground. Dazed Digital quickly quizzed her after the presentation:
Dazed Digital: There were a lot of crosses - are they the antidote to the wolves and werewolf theme?
Maria Francesca Pepe: More than a symbol of fight, I see the cross as a symbol of acceptation. It's that moment between life and death when they connect - I have always been fascinated by the cross as a powerful pop image.
DD: This was a quite hard and dark collection - have you toughened up?
Maria Francesca Pepe: I guess so. There have been times in my life where I’ve had to face some hardcore stuff, and I guess it has made my bones stronger. Nevertheless, I’ve always had a quiet dark side of me evident behind the surface, but I see this as a quality to look deeper and feel stronger. And I'm not afraid of it anymore. I guess this collection it's reflecting a grown-up Maria Francesca.
DD: There were quite a few angular shoulder shapes - is that a standard MFP shape?
Maria Francesca Pepe: I love the art of reshaping the body adding volume where needed. I've been quite obsessed by geometries all my life. And beside that I've always thought you can truly adjust your figure through shoulders. My mum always used to repeat to me to stand straight!
DD: This was about the transformation from man and animal - who's the stronger one?
Maria Francesca Pepe: I believe it's the combination of the two. And the awareness that we can be one or the other through times.
DD: What's your favourite piece?
Maria Francesca Pepe: The jackets and coats, as I am a jacket freak, and the wool jersey, leather cups and wolf fur - like the velvet shoulder dress. Obviously, I will wear it opened as a coat.
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