Tuesday, 22 February 2011

LFW Day 4 - Ziad Ghanem Catwalk Review

Waited with much anticipation, the buzz was electric before the Ziad Ghanem A/W11 show. Fans, followers and industry folk queued around the block for the designer’s show last night; giddy with excitement. Gender rules were not an issue for Ziad’s audience - it was fitting that Boy George was sat front row. The lights dimmed and a beautiful but sluggish figure dragged herself on the catwalk; using her burlesque feathers as wings she grew taller and taller! (Many OMGs were gasped throughout the show, this the first of them). The music had a terrifying beat as the gigantic model came down the catwalk as though to scare us all away. The show then began. The over-all idea of horror was inspired by the nerving characters from the hit game Silent Hill. Ziad was also inspired by the works of artist John Henry Fuseli, known to paint nightmare scenes and evil creatures. The prints Ziad used on a range of the pieces looked to have been inspired by Fuseli’s art.  I asked Ziad after the show what was his inspiration behind the collection “Grotesque Hollywood” he told me, he went on to explain himself “because most of the Hollywood actresses look like miss world transsexual  and I wanted to put that in”. Rather than putting charming nymphs in his dresses he chose a surprising range of shocking models.

Characters as loud as the clothes stormed the catwalk proud of their individuality. To say Ziad’s choice of models was controversial would be an understatement; boys as girls, transgender, a possessed ballet dancer, vamps, a large lady, freaky girls – ‘what of it’ was their attitude. The make-up added even more drama to the show, as if there wasn’t enough already. Ziad told me backstage that he had asked all of his models to decide on their favourite horror film make-up and that is what they wore. The majority chose white faces, wicked black grins and hollow eyes. Taking a closer look at the garments away from the excitement of the make-up and models, there is even more to appreciate. Ziad puts so much into his collection, from the styling and the show to the design process. He used vintage silk chiffon for the free flowing gowns as well as Moroccan crepe from old couture mills. The light flow of the chiffon was beautifully displayed by a possessed ballet dancer who walked the catwalk on her points spinning as she went with the chiffon of her dress fluttering in her path. Paying homage to couturiers of the past Ziad wanted to compliment the female form in his collection, showcasing a ‘feminine and sensual silhouette’; corsetry, ruffled crepe, veils and delicate brocade illustrated this. Black lace and heavily embellished pieces added a little darkness to the collection. Ziad excelled himself; there was not one person in the room who did not gasp throughout the show.

Words : Louisa Kilburn
Images 1-4 & 10 : Ezzidin Alwan
Images 5-8 : Natalia Ilina
Image 9 : Lucas Seidenfaden
Illustration : Andy Bumpus