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Interview: Bora Aksu backstage at London Fashion Week

After his packed show at The Science Musuem, Bora Aksu spoke with soFem's Marian Buckley about his influences for fall winter 2009.
Turkish-born designer Bora Aksu always attracts an enthusiastic crowd and this season was no exception. Bora graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2002 and made his off-schedule debut a year later.

He has been a regular on the official schedule since 2004 and is particularly recognized for exploring folk themes, intricate handiwork and his clever integration of hand-crafted leather pieces. This season, however, art is at the heart of Bora's work.

 - Interview: Bora Aksu backstage at London Fashion Week
©Marian Buckley
"It is based on Victorian paintings," Bora told me backstage with a generous smile.

"I have been obsessed with Tissot's work, was thinking a lot about the muse. Now we models and celebrities in media but in Victorian times painters' muses were icons in their own right but they were these unknown women."

"I especially liked Tissot's muse who was actually his lover. I was really drawn to all his pictures of her - she was so beautiful."

Bora has been totally captivated by the tragic story of Tissot's muse, Mrs Kathleen Newton, with whom he lived in London after the artist fled Paris to escape imprisonment for his political sympathies.

Mrs Newtown became the subject of many of Tissot's paintings but their relationship was cut short when, having contracted consumption, she took she her own life aged 28 years old. "There is such sadness and beauty too in these paintings," continues Bora.

"After she died he just put down his brushes and returned to Paris and made a huge painting of her in his garden to remind him of the happy memories, and he never sold that."

Bora's message to his models! ©Marian Buckley
Fall winter's collection takes inspiration from "the colors of Tissot's paintings and also the whole idea of taboo in Victorian times.

I find it amazing the sadness with the beauty and the way Tissot poured all different emotions into his paintings and you can actually feel it.

He even painted himself admiring her!" Elements of Victoriana appear throughout, as Bora explains.

"It's a very dark palette and the ideas for the prints came from the furnishing fabrics and wallpaper from that era with splashes of light blues and light grays added to soften the color palette and brocade silks, thick silks and satins, and there was nomadic detailing to try and connect all these textures like crochet and lacing."

The addition of lace-up boots and hats reinforces the Victorian feel.

"We produced the hats ourselves in the studio and we didn't do any collaborations this season, we were working in our own cocoon!"

©Marian Buckley

For Bora, the British recession is not about to be reflected in design.

Instead he feels "art and fashion is a reaction to what is happening, it doesn't go in parallel with social changes so I don't think we will all be making simple tops!

I'm thinking it is going to get even more elaborate in some ways!"

Catwalk photos and reports here.

Marian Buckley


Fashion Editor
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