“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how fragile the Earth is.” – Valentina Tereshkova
Let me set the scene for you, I’ve just arrived in London, checked into my hotel, changed into an insanely fabulous outfit, been papped twice and have literally pegged it from Covent Garden to The Strand to catch my first show of the day. I’m a little sweaty, a bit windswept, in a good way, and hella late. I mosey on into the BFC showspace for the first time this season to find that it’s half it’s usual size and I’m ushered to my front row seat and handed a piece of paper that says this:
Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space in 1963. The daughter of a tractor driver and a textile plant worker, at 17 she had to leave school and began working at the textile plant in order to help support the family. But she wanted more from life. She insisted on earning her education and opted to study by correspondence. At the age of 18, while working at the textile mill, Valentina joined a club for parachutists and wrote a letter to the space centre volunteering for the cosmonaut team. Tereshkova, a woman with little formal education, was selected as one of five women, all of whom were much more qualified than her: test pilots, engineers, and world-class parachutists. After intensive training, Tereshkova proved she could make the final cut.
On June 16, 1963, she spent almost three days in space and orbited Earth 48 times in her space capsule. While TV viewers saw her smiling face and her logbook floating in front of her, they didn’t realise that the flight had almost turned into tragedy, a fact that remained classified for 40 years. In the years to follow, Tereshkova went on to graduate from the Zhuykosky Air Force Engineering Academy in 1969 and earned a degree in Technical Science. She then toured the world promoting science and feminism. Valentina serves as a role model for all women throughout the world who wish to strive to achieve their dreams.
I mean goosebumps right?! Forget the shrunken showspace, I’m all in, talk about setting the scene! So it’s clear before we even get underway that this collection is dedicated to Valentina Tereshkova. Bora Aksu creates garments that reflect Tereshkova’s space trip drawing on the contrasts of her early life growing up in a small village and her determination in standing against traditional restrictions also provides inspiration for this powerful collection.
It’s a slight step away from the norm for Bora Aksu, there’s an exploration of new silhouettes and materials and the colour palette lends itself excellently to the theme. The iridescent organza and tulle fabrics appear ethereal in texture and draw gasps of wonder from the baying audience, myself included as this theme hits every note on my pleasure chart. The combination of soft feminine fabrics and structured shapes add a romance to the bolder silhouettes. There’s an element of weightlessness which is conveyed perfectly through the use of tulle and organza and the addition of pearl sunglasses created by Halo and Co, specifically for the show add a layer of interest.
If you’re looking to spin this look on the high street, sadly it’s a very tricky one to recreate well. Needle and Thread do it very well and I’m sure they observed this show very, very closely at the end of a needlepoint, but their pricepoint is high so be prepared to pay above the odds for it. It’s worth it though, it’s a look that’s guaranteed to turn heads again and again. I can honestly say, and I know I say it every season, that the first show, straight out the gate, is always the best show of the season. Bora Aksu, so far, you’re shaping up to be the best show of FW19.
Images by Chris Yates Fashion Photography