It was another jam packed house last night at the official Mercedez-Benz evening with Caroline Hili. Caroline’s show last year was one of the most talked about so anticipation was high. The setting, venue and ligting was incredible – Lascaris Wharf is stunning, and I loved the brilliant concept of the models travelling down, the steel lift, down the bastions followed by perfectly matched lighting.
So what about the collection?
There is no doubt that Caroline is a master at the craft of tailoring, pattern cutting and construction. Her skill is in crafting pieces to fit the female body the exact way she has envisioned it. Perfectly nipped in waists with contrasting voluminous skirts, flowing fabrics and cuts that cling in places and flow in others were the order of the night. She presented a range of items – from trench coats to party pieces to even more toned down items I can see working as ‘day pieces’.
Compared to last year’s collection, this one is a lot less safe and maybe to some people, much less wearable. This year she has let her imagination run a bit wilder, and whether or not each piece tickles your fancy – the collection can definitively not be called ordinary. I was pleased by her use of contrasting materials – there were sheer fabrics, leather pieces, metallic detailing and even a huge tulle skirt for the finale piece. I also spotted some lovely accessories on a few of the pieces, accessories are actually one of Caroline’s forte. Her work is all very clean and thankfully there’s never a sense of anything feeling overdone.
One thing that really caught my attention is that barring the finale piece, all the lines were very long, each piece had a sense of infinity, of seeming to exist beyond the scope of itself.
Caroline thinks a bit differently to other designers and prior to the show she did not divulge her inspiration nor the story behind the collection, she preferred to let the audience create their own interpretation. I personally don’t fully agree with this, the theme is not an obvious one and I don’t think it could have been easily picked up. A consequence of her decision and this is something I did hear a few people mention, is that as the show moved from pieces to piece, it might have felt a bit disjointed and lacking of a running concept.
I did however speak to her after the show and she shared her thoughts with me. Her designs were heavily influenced by the current happenings in Malta, especially in regards to the Spring Hunting referendum debate over the last few months. Her play on colours and styling evokes the birds themselves (those eyelashes!) and the natural behaviour of the Maltese people as a whole to always be divided in opinion (contrasting colours). The single red dress signifies the blood shed in the killings of these birds.