With a set that saw models stand on raised plinths covered with a thick layer of foamy bubbles, designer Marta Jakubowski was thinking about superheroes. Not caped crusaders, though – the personal strength and inner power of women who refuse to bow to expectations.
“It’s about body extension and super powers and creating strength through every body part,” said Jakubowski of the collection, which was a playful reimagining of the RCA graduate’s signature red, black and white colour palette and elongated jersey pieces, and turned on its head the idea that minimalism has to be serious. Oversize dungarees paired with tight bodysuits evoked circus clowns. Bat wings, gloved sleeves and thigh-high slits reaffirmed the designer’s interest in daredevils and risk-takers (she cited those who walk on broken glass and fire as inspirations).
“My clothing isn’t limited by sex or gender, it’s purely about people” – Marta Jakubowski
After eight years in education, with short breaks to intern at the likes Hussein Chalayan, Alexander Wang, and Jonathan Saunders, the Polish-born, German-raised Jakubowski graduated in 2014 and set up on her own in London to hone her own fluid, minimalist aesthetic – as visible in the puritan tie waists and slashed hems of AW16. But this time, the detail was injected with drama and fantasy – a theatrical sensibility which could, perhaps, be credited to her days as a costume intern in opera houses and on film sets. Winged dresses in soft, stretchy one-size-fits-all jersey took centre stage alongside fake-blood-red suits with sharp lapels and padded, sleeping-bag-like coats.
Masculine silhouettes with playful cut outs featured again here on her cast of both men and women, placing Jakubowski amongst the designers – think Eckhaus Latta, Vejas – moving away from gender binaries and creating unisex collections. This in itself is empowering. “My clothing isn’t limited by sex or gender, it’s purely about people,” Jakubowski asserts. These are clothes to enjoy, but they’re also clothes to take strength from – the bodysuits and extended padded gilets become our protection and the wearers, in turn, become the superheroes.