Marta Jakubowski’s first catwalk show opened with a spotlight against a blank wall that swiftly disappeared in favour of a dimly lit runway. In a time where our attention is piqued by flashy sets and performative shows, Marta’s method felt clean and cool and calmly done. Overhead, Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real played; this bold feminine ballad was an accurate partner for the collection to come. As the first looks emerged, sharp cuts and sensual shapes showed obvious development from the Polish-born designer.
Utilitarian trousers, jackets and coats in pastel purple and light green hues appeared one after the other, spliced together with ease. These were followed by tailored dresses punctuated with sheer, polka-dotted slips and neon swimwear. There were touches of schoolgirl simplicity present in pleated skirts designed to look as though they slotted over trousers. Upon closer inspection however, it was obvious that these were single pieces, their youthful appeal transferable to a more mature audience.
Charting Jakubowski’s designs feels somewhat like flicking through a photo album, watching a girl grow image by image. Her teenage spirit is marked in those tight dresses and form-fitting fabrics that one often ascribes to her collections but these were gone for S/S 18. Gone and replaced with elegantly designed silhouettes in denim and satin. Perhaps Jakubowski had designed this collection for a woman ready to work, ready to be taken seriously and simultaneously she was daring her audience to take her seriously too.
The final look - a billowing black satin coat - felt sophisticated and sensual. I mentally placed it on my body as I watched in on the runway, envisioning a situation in which I wore it to a secret tryst with a secret lover in a swanky location far beyond my means. This scenario is so far from my reality it’s almost laughable, but I think that that is what really strong fashion does. It gives one the freedom to imagine themselves into the scenario that garment conjures up and that was very much felt today. This show was, above all, aspirational.
At the end of the show Marta herself ran out into the spotlight that had - aptly - reappeared. She had just showed a collection that a woman desirous of a spotlight would desire. So it felt right as the audience raucously applauded that she took that moment - her own moment to shine.