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New Wave Femininity : 5 Female Fashion Designers Giving Us the Full Fantasy

I’ve always gone for the full fantasy of fashion, obsessing over clothes with exaggerated silhouettes, kaleidoscopic color palettes, and luxurious fabrics- and have found that, in terms of combining these elements and making them wearable, women do it best.

In discussing both emerging talents and established names on the fashion circuit, I want to shine a light on the female designers embracing the extremes of femininity, in all its sexy, slinky, frilly dreaminess.

Mimi Wade

Mimi Wade. Photo via Tatler.com
Moffy in Mimi Wade SS2018. Photo via Vogue.co.uk

I’ve developed a real sweet tooth when it comes to Mimi Wade’s sugary aesthetic. A member of the prestigious Fashion East alumni who showed her first solo show in FW18, Mimi’s designs revel in the kitsch of old b-movies and the nostalgia of childhood, whilst retaining the sexy glamour of golden-era Hollywood. As a designer she is unafraid of indulgence, using a saturated color palette of pinks, reds, and blues, which are dreamily superimposed with imagery of herself and icons of western and horror cinema onto doll-like silhouettes (no doubt catalyzing her extremely appropriate collaboration with Polly Pocket). If you take a look over Mimi’s casting for her past shows, you’ll also notice the faces of models such as Moffy and Bee Beardsworth from season to season- we love a girl who keeps her girlfriends close on her rise to success.

Adriana Sahar

 Photo via Twitter
 Photo via Estelmag.com

On her website, Adriana Sahar writes that she’s been ‘hustling’ in the fashion game ever since she made and sold her first dress at the age of 13. The LA native set up a business selling her custom pieces out of her parents’ garage, and has since developed her brand around her concept of the ‘dream girl’, making those pieces ‘every girl wishes she could wear’- think lace, spandex, and sequins (her favorite fabrics to work with) and selling that fantasy via her Instagram. Her debut SS19 show ‘ELYSIUM’ was a feast for the eyes; the runway was filled with fishnets, faux-fur and fluorescent greens and oranges which made me think of the perfect two-piece outfits I would daydream of for my Bratz dolls growing up. The absolute dreamiest of her looks for me has to be the ‘NASA’ two-piece, which went viral following her NYFW ‘18 show: a Studio 54-worthy moment made up of layers upon layers of ruffled lavender tulle.

MyaeMade

NBGA No Basic girls allowed
Photo via Instagram
NBGA No Basic girls allowed
Photo via Instagram

Mia, the 24-year old South-Londoner behind ‘MyaeMade‘ makes all of her bespoke sets by hand in her own home. Her approach to designing and manufacturing her clothes- selling custom garments via email and flash sales on her depop which she announces via Instagram, is the antithesis of impersonal, shoddily constructed and wasteful fast fashion from the high-street. Mia started making clothes for herself, creating garments that her mom ‘couldn’t or wouldn’t buy [her]’ – and her social media has only relatively recently blown up after her designs were rocked by the likes of Jorja Smith and Stefflon Don. Her ‘stretchsets’, which most often comprise of matching long sleeve tops and leggings made from jersey and mesh fabrics are ribbed and seamed with dreamy raw hems, which curl and bunch into ruffled edges and contours. The clingy cuts and vibrant colors of Myaemade’s sample garments make them perfect carnival attire, but her entirely customizable business model means that there is no limit in terms of potential color combinations, fabrics, and silhouettes.

Charlotte Knowles

 SS19. Photo via Vogue Runway
SS19. Photo via Vogue Runway

South London based brand Charlotte Knowles is a collaborative effort between Charlotte and her partner Alexandre Arsenault, started after the pair graduated from Central Saint Martins-Masters in 2017. Their second season showcasing with the support of Fashion East in SS19 was a masterclass in making the ethereal cool -think sheer drapes of lace and ruched silks- going down the runway in a color palette of ice-cream shades; mint, lilac, and baby-pink as well as unexpected tones of acid green and neon orange. The delicacy of these garments is reminiscent of vintage lingerie, but Knowles’ silhouettes make a nod to the brasher styles of the early 2000s, with models clad in triangle-bikini style ties and cut-outs, and bared midriffs. This delicacy is disheveled further by the rough-around-the-edges styling of each look, with a distinctly 90’s vibe to the layering of minidresses over sheer footless tights, in blossom and plaid prints.

Molly Goddard

Photo via Instagram
FW18. Photo via Vogue Runway

Molly Goddard’s maximalism and mastery of tulle have been a staple of the London fashion scene for over four years now, and for good reason- no one quite does the puffy yet intricately structured dress quite like her and her team of six (!) who hand-make each of her garments. The London born designer and BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award winner, who established her label on 2014 following an MA in fashion knitwear, is a champion for frugality- stating in a recent interview with Vogue that expensive fabric ‘’bores’’ her -“ I like something that’s £6 a meter so you can pleat it and gather it.” You may have seen Villanelle, the anti-hero assassin of the BBC’s ‘Killing Eve’ decked out in a sherbet-pink Goddard number, or Rihanna in cobalt ruffles from her FW17 collection, a clientele (both real and imagined) which speaks volumes for the kind of girl who can pull off a Goddard gown and not have it wear her.

By Emily Blundell Owers
Cover Photo by Charlotte O’Shea