Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Ziad Ghanem Spring Summer 2012

Photography by Lucas Seidenfaden
It’s easy to see why Ziad Ghanem’s show was one of the most anticipated of the day. It was a carefully orchestrated and perfectly pitch blend of performance and theatricality, as the designer met and surpassed the expectations of an appreciative audience. The opening look set the scene – a dolled-up Operatic duo, resplendent in sweeping silks and pale pink tulle – paraded down the runway accompanied by a dramatic and almost deafening fanfare. The Ziad Ghanem circus had rolled into town, and you couldn’t tear your eyes away.

This act was followed by a relentless expression of pure creativity. Clashing latex with hand-worked vintage Italian lace, eye-popping paint splatters with extravagant satin ruffles and yards and yards of tulle, Ghanem let his creativity run wild. Credit should be given to the designer for his adept ability to combine all these elements and not end up with a show filled with little more than couture-cut costumes – the result of the impeccable quality and finish of his garments and his eclectic and well-researched inspirations – this season the Polish film Matka Joanna od aniolow (Mother Joan of the Angels).

Silhouettes remained structured, as boned corsets and basques with sweetheart necklines sculpted forms and amped-up assets. These strict shapes provided the basis for ostentatious ruffles, tiered panelling, shaped pleats and delicate needlework, these voluminous forms recalled the drama and pomp of the Rococo era, modernised with a palette dominated by black and white. The colour, when it came was as dramatic as you would expect, veering from blood red to multi-coloured paint drips that extended across faces and torsos, perhaps a homage to Jackson Pollock?

Ghanem’s decision to reject the model norm in favour a broad cast of quirky individuals was a masterstroke. By listing the details of each creative on the press notes (details included name, occupation and contact details) the audience was able to identify with and build characters around each piece, in fact each model imbued every creation with a sense of their own personality. Despite the undeniable flamboyance of the designs the model owned the catwalk.

The audience may have had high expectations, but they were certainly fulfilled, judging by the cheers and rapturous applause that greeted Ghanem as he took his final bow, accompanied by his favourite niece, herself a show model. 

Text: Victoria Loomes