Written by Katrina Israel Sitting in an airy suite of Mayfair’s Brown’s Hotel, Australian designer Kit Podgornik is motioning towards the grand room’s stucco walls, which conveniently allude to the blank canvas that set the stage for her Resort 2013 collection. “It’s called Surface Elements,” she explains, adding, “It’s all about contrasting architectural and animal skin surfaces.” Think man versus the animal kingdom in Frank Gehry’s backyard.
Reaching for a strictly structured, cap sleeved linen dress, she continues, “So we have this linen that’s painted white, juxtaposed with other natural surfaces such as animal skin.”
Picking up a pair of bias cut, scale printed silk pants, she adds, “In particular the crocodile skin, which is the strongest, most resilient of the animal world.” For Resort it pops up as a digital print, as well as being drawn onto tanks.
However, it’s not just Australia’s fiercest predator’s skin that makes the grade for this collection. Much of resort’s silhouettes are also born from the croc’s form, with the rectangular sculptural frills, finishing ¾ length skirts and dresses, directly inspired by the legs of the reptile’s skin laid flat. “The crocodile feet,” she exclaims.
But in true Willow fashion, literal references are neatly fused with a good dose of French insouciance, chicly overseen by Podgornik’s Parisian stylist Mélanie Huynh, as “disco croc” foiled bustiers (a Willow signature from her lingerie beginnings), are layered under cobweb ribbed jersey tanks and leather bombers.
Steering away from the typical resort clichés, this collection is more urban jungle, than swept away, for the girl who favors Berlin sojourns in her industrial sequin party dresses, over Sardinia.
Yet remaining true to the designer’s masculine versus feminine MO, a softer side soon blooms with delicately tucked silk tulle dresses, draped on the stand in acid camellia and nude. “It’s almost like hair,” says Podgornik, their fragility contrasted with ‘paint-splattered’ boucle jackets and buckled Christian Louboutin for Willow booties.
Now stay tuned for plans a foot to bring Willow back to London Fashion Week for spring/summer 2013.