Former Fashion Fringe winners Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman are a paradox in the purest sense. These couturiers (and let’s not argue about this, the Fyodor Golan catwalk is as artful and labour-intensive as anything seen in Paris) are perhaps too grand for the likes of London, with its fresh focus on commerciality, but should they dumb down their shtick for a wider audience, or concentrate on producing lovely frocks?
Autumn/Winter 2013 sees the duo expand their offering into more daywear and knits, but it’s still the dresses which draw the crowd. There’s no denying Fyodor Golan have the skills, as anyone who witnessed them customising Triumph underwear in a Covent Garden basement will testify, but the power to self-edit still evades them. You can’t help but feel that this collection loses some of its cohesion to ambition.
The notes namecheck ‘Belle Du Jour’, Luis Bunuel’s 1967 classic, as well as the works of artists Wim Delvoyes and J.S. Sargent, whose sculpture and iconic painting ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ influenced the proportions and graphic prints, but this collection is really an exploration of the duality of female sexuality. Dresses are either super-short with sheer panels, or embroidered and exposing bare shoulders, alongside more demure silk skirt-suits and shift dresses. The Fyodor Golan woman never goes all the way; there is a stiffness and restriction to much of the collection which suggests a more puritanical attitude to the sins of the flesh, the folds and pleats symbolic of an unfurled flower yet to bloom, her beauty modestly obscured by the bell sleeves, structured shoulders, and high necks.
As with every Fyodor Golan collection there is a surfeit of decoration and embellishment, and working with luxury mills Piacenza and Saydam has resulted in the unique fabric blends of silk and crepe organza with wool and cashmere used in the outerwear.
The mood of constraint which punctuates this collection is something Fyodor Golan need to encourage. Collaboration with The Smiley Company introduces smiley face embossed leather, another icon of illicit pleasures, mirroring the circular silhouette elsewhere but more than a little incongruous. It’s this lack of boundaries which lets the collection down. Sometimes a few good ideas executed well can be just as powerful.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) for Katie Chutzpah blog.