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Georgian-born fashion designer David Koma developed a passion for making clothes at a very young age, presenting his first collection at the age of 15, while studying Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. Koma then moved to London in order to continue his studies at the prestigious Central Saint Martins and graduated from the MA Fashion Course with a distinction in April 2009. He then went on to launch his eponymous label straight after.

Despite the ever-changing landscape of fashion, where self-expression is redefining conventional norms, David Koma’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection reminded us that classic representations of glamour still endure. The allure of a bold red lip, glossy nails, cut-glass heels, or a satin lapel are and will always be everlasting. Inspired by Marlene Dietrich, an iconic German American actress and singer who blended feminine and masculine symbols of desire in her style, the collection fuses two groundbreaking eras – the 1930s, the heyday of the icon, and the 1960s – paying homage to the elements and iconography that define twentieth-century glamour.

Known for his modern, bold and innovative approach to womenswear, the London based designer has become synonymous with the ultra body-contouring silhouette, creating sculptural silhouettes inspired by posture, power, and the feminine form. One of the defining features of Koma's designs are his use of bold, graphic, and sculptural shapes. He frequently incorporates geometric cutouts, embellishments, and architectural silhouettes into his garments, giving them an elegant, and seductive quality, an aesthetic that has earned him a reputation as a master of precise and excellent tailoring.

An ode to the timelessness of glamour, Koma explores the traditional post-modern ideas of seductiveness. His Autumn/Winter 2023 offering investigates the interaction between traditional evening wardrobes for both men and women. Here, the tuxedo – a Marlene Dietrich signature, is magnified and sensualised to oversized proportions while the classic men’s shirt is twisted into erotic shapes. As Koma’s models walk down the runway, bouncing plume trims, effervescent ruffles, liquid satin lingerie, crystal-encrusted knitwear, and fluffy mohair halter-neck mini dresses and evening stoles contrast the collection's masculine influences and make way for a high-octane glamour native to 1930s' vaudeville.

The collection also featured smoking motifs, particularly their association with the suffragette movement and the idea of ‘torches of freedom.’ reflected in repurposed vintage motorcycle jackets, and a collaboration with jeweller Emily Frances Barrett which encapsulates a modern-day smoker's ‘last cigarette’ into resin pendants adding a layer of depth and historical context to the collection, making it more than just a celebration of glamour and fashion.

Overall, David Koma's Fall/Winter 2023 collection is a triumph of design and creativity. The collection seamlessly blends timeless glamour with modern sensibilities, and the attention to detail and craftsmanship is second to none. Koma's use of colour, texture, and silhouette is masterful, and the incorporation of historical context adds an extra layer of depth and significance to the collection.

Nur Rezai-Mah

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