Have you ever tried on an Issa dress? I have, and it is not an easy feat. I have tugged and pulled and stretched and grunted and found that you have to be a crossbreed between Marylin’s curves and Naomi’s paper-thin to serve justice to an Issa design. The fashion brand is known for it’s incredible ability to marry the female silhouette with textile expertise like few others. Think Missoni meets Herve Leger. Issa’s staple is elegant jersey dresses with cinched waists, asymmetric, flowng hemlines, and woven prints which give even the most skilled print desigmers a run for their money; Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, and Cavalli eat your heart out.
Issa’s London Fashion Week SS16 showcase, in the rammed Brewer Street carpark was a welcome debut of the brand’s movement toward luxuriant femininity, under the directive of Jamie O’Hare, and the now complete ownership of Camilla Al-Fayed. The Egyptian in me jumped for joy, learning of Camilla’s movement from stakeholder to full ownership, with her vision for the fashion brand to evolve it’s vibrant, colourful, glamorous designs that provide a versatile and elegant wardrobe.
Every woman, at any given point in her life, has uttered the phrase: “I have nothing to wear.” This frequency of the statement is directly proportional to the more we own. I tend to judge a collection by asking myself “Could my wardrobe consist solely of this entire collection?” Gawking at the draping animal prints, in vibrant Mediterranean hues, with decorative swathes and strong silhouettes, the answer is yes. The versatility, the every day looks, the complimentary, figure enhancing cuts signal an exciting new chapter for Issa, and I for one, look forward to getting back into that changing room; woman-versus-dress for a take two.
Linear prints split and pixelate in recurring patterns, reminiscent of electronic circuitry, whilst 3-D circular forms are placed over geometric grids on a Tron inspired print. The infinite circles of fractal patterns recur in varying scales and arrangements and inform tie die prints. White, lime and lapis blue colours provide a clean, fresh palette.
The season’s graphic patterns are interpreted through fabrication and construction; the interlocking structure of broderie anglaise mimics the formation of organic cells, whilst lace jersey and knits feature graphic and concentric textures. Embroidery gives the prints further depth, with white broderie anglaise coat, trousers and shorts over embroidered with metal hardware, beading and clear piping. Elsewhere the embroidery becomes integral to the garment’s construction; with an A- line V neck dress assembled from layered glossy enamel interlocking segments and a laser cut printed tile dress pieced together with geometric hardware.
The brand’s signature draping is apparent on silk and devore jersey dresses, and fluid textured crepe knits, as well as shawl effect sleeves that drape across arms and backs. Sheer and lace panels create a focus on the body beneath the clothes; on a geometric metallic fil coupe jacquard knit dress and sheer panel tailoring. Wrapover shirts, dresses and jumpsuits with obi style belting offer a relaxed, feminine silhouette.