London Fashion Week: Capturing Bora Aksu


Turkish designer Bora Aksu exibits his latest collection at London Fashion Week. Words and images by Zinah Nur Sharif.

On the afternoon of 14 September, shadows settled on the sides of the courtyard at the Somerset House in London. The centre of the venue was brightened with stage lights. Silence and anticipation began to creep in, for Bora Aksu had taken us back in time with 19th-century orchestral music. As the first model strutted in, the entire place became enchanted with beauty, jewels, crowns and royalty.

It marked a strong start to kick off London Fashion Week summer/spring 2013.

But Bora Aksu is certainly no newcomer to the world of fashion. After being awarded New Generation sponsorship, he hurtled straight onto the London Fashion Week scene eight years ago, when he set up his label upon graduation from Central Saint Martins in London.

The London-based Turkish designer is well known for finding a point of balance between contrasts, and his signature style exudes romance with a dark twist. His collection is stocked in Selfridges and Liberty & Co in London.

Bora’s inspiration for the collection came from Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Marie, who became the queen of Romania in 1922. The way she embraced traditional Romanian culture without losing her Englishness led to a lot of beautiful references.

Backstage during a press interview, Bora shed more light on the connection between Queen Marie and his collection. ‘As well as her style and charisma, inspiration for spring/summer 2013 has come from the love she had for her botanical garden in Balchik,’ he said.

An oversized crown made from a textured knit was worn by each model and tied in with the title of the spring/summer 2013 collection, ‘Modern Queen’. The regal look was completed with messy and frizzy hair, piled on top of the models’ heads with braids looping down. The whole style was a strikingly modern and rebellious twist on the popular majestic look.

Sheer and lightweight fabric draped around the slender figure of the first model, flowing in the breeze created by her immaculate walk. As each model stepped onto the catwalk, the pastel colour palettes, lavish textures and extravagant details gradually turned the place into a long-lost wonderland. The multi-layered floor-length gowns stood out the most. The modern and majestic display was also complemented by a change of music to ‘Youth’ by London trio Daughter. Then came the grand finale: an army of Modern Queens marching out in columns of three.

Meeting Bora backstage gave me a better idea of the designer and his work. He is humble and light-hearted, enjoys the work he does and aims to create pieces that will allow women to define beauty in their own way. The head make-up artist and ambassador of ELLIS FAAS, Maria Papadopoulou, who I spoke to backstage, praised Bora as ‘beautiful inside and out’.

I duly second that assessment.

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