FOR many, the last two years have felt like a never-ending tumble down the rabbit hole, plunged into a surreal realm of arbitrary rules and strange curiosities.
And it’s a similar dreamlike narrative that awakened Michael Halpern’s imagination, but it was veteran actress Angelica Houston – not Alice – who became the heroine of Halpern’s of AW22 collection.
Halpern envisioned Houston waking up from a deep, two-year slumber to be teleported into a ‘70s hedonistic version of Cecil B. DeMille’s 1930 cinematic classic Madam Satan starring Katherine DeMille – another star in Halpern’s glittering constellation of muses.
Studying the silhouettes of both decades, Halpern engineered era-splicing looks, fusing a distinct 1930s flamingo pink and lime satin draped bustier with sequinned stovepipe trousers, which radiated a faint whiff of Halston’s sensual discotheque fashions.
A shimmering jade-toned asymmetric bustier gown with an amethyst crystal-embroidered collar seethed with a feverish glamour unmistakable of Halpern.
Yet, in the same vein, open-back satin midi dresses of lime green peacocked Halpern’s ability to balance excess with clarity, with a satin corseted jumpsuit embellished with fringe that swayed with a whisper-weight, creating a subtle synthesis between the two extremes.
Although this collection was presented in Brixton’s Recreation Centre, a fuchsia and black ombré viscose jumpsuit evokes the celestial quality of the films most celebrated scene: an elaborate masquerade ball held aboard the Zeppelin CB-P-55 where the film is orchestrated.
While dreams often provide a blissful escape from realities woes, this collection outlined the opposite, underlining the poignant optimism of our collective experience of learning to thrive in the afflictions of real life.