“Johanna’s designs combine comfort with elegance. It is something that you can cycle to work in and then work the whole day in the office. It does not limit or restrict the wearer in any way,” says Mika Kailes, photographer and a long-time collaborator of Parv’s. Their lockdown project lenses Parv’s collection in action, using deserted streets of London as a stage for their urban dystopia.
With public transport use discouraged, cycling levels have significantly gone up during lockdown in the UK, and Parv’s collection, presented in February, seems to have predicted the trend. Over the course of fashion history, we have seen cycling aestheticised on runways. Amy Molyneaux incorporated bicycles in PPQ’s Fall/Winter 2012 show, and during Spring 2019 shows, amidst the biker short craze, everyone from Jacquemus to Marine Serre offered their iterations of the street style staple. Despite the abundance of instances where the aesthetics of functionality are imitated, the functionality itself, the core of activewear is often lost in sartorial translation. On the other hand, Parv’s collection – as an outcome of societal observation of urban women and incessant experimentation – unifies aesthetics and function.
Freedom of movement in Parv’s designs does not indicate the absence of elegance. The idea of elegance that runs counter to the very conception of any functionality is here incorporated seamlessly in the designs that explore not only functionality but also the idea of dysfunction in stereotypically feminine, purely aesthetic ornamentation of womenswear.