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LFW: The Sun is Ash, But the Fashion Shines Bright - A Review of Ingrid Kraftchenko's AW23 Collection

by Yuan-Yuan Watkis

London Fashion Week just got a whole lot better with Ingrid Kraftchenko's AW23 collection, called "Bodymap (The Sun is Ash)." Held in the old Union Station near Holborn, which has been abandoned since 1952, the show was a stunning tribute to the history of fashion and a glimpse into its future.

The show started with a bang as an array of models of different ages, heights, and builds strutted down the runway. It was a refreshing sight to see, as it highlighted the shift in the fashion industry towards inclusivity and diversity. Kraftchenko's decision to use a variety of models showcased the beauty of fashion on all body types, a message that has been long overdue.

The collection was a stunning display of Kraftchenko's vision, and each piece was unique and beautifully crafted. The collection's name, "Bodymap (The Sun is Ash)," was a nod to the ongoing global climate crisis and its impact on the world around us. The collection embodied a sense of hope, and each piece seemed to whisper, "There is still beauty to be found in this world."

The collection's use of materials was a standout feature, with Kraftchenko using everything from a range of textures to silhouettes. From oversized coats to sheer effortlessly dresses, the collection had something for everyone. The use of sheer materials, in particular, added an extra layer of dimension to the collection, giving it an ethereal quality.

One of the standout pieces of the collection was an oversized bold patterned leather coat. The structure sleeveless coat was paired with a simple black tulle petticoat, giving it a sophisticated yet effortless vibe. The collection also featured a range of pieces with contrasts, each piece more stunning than the last. The use of hard leathers against delicate tulle, satin or silk added an extra layer of texture to the pieces, highlighting Kraftchenko's attention to detail.

Pairing perfectly with this use of leather, Underground England provided the amazing creepers, and boots for the show’s footwear - increasing the gothic feel of the collection. 

As the show progressed, it became clear that Kraftchenko was experimenting with a variety of materials and textures, showcasing her talent for unconventional designs. The Bodymap collection featured pieces made from faux fur, silk, leather, wool, and neoprene, with a range of unique textures and finishes. One particularly eye-catching piece was a floor-length coat made entirely from metallic silver material, reminiscent of a futuristic space suit.

Kraftchenko's use of colour was also impressive, with an eclectic mix of shades and tones on display. Bold red from the clothes and the runway set up were offset by more muted tones of blacks and whites. The collection also featured a number of intricate prints, with swirling patterns and abstract shapes adorning a number of pieces. Kraftchenko's fearless approach to colour and print demonstrated her willingness to push boundaries and experiment with different techniques.

Another standout element of the Bodymap collection was the diverse range of models who took to the runway. Rather than adhering to traditional industry standards of age, height, and build, Kraftchenko chose a variety of models to showcase her designs. Women of all ages, heights, and sizes were included in the show, creating a sense of inclusivity and diversity that is often lacking in the fashion world. This move towards inclusivity is a step in the right direction for the fashion industry, and Kraftchenko's approach is sure to inspire other designers to follow suit.

As the show drew to a close, the final looks showcased the designer's skill in creating statement pieces that are both elegant and bold. A showstopping gown, with an asymmetrical black and white stripped top and leather high low skirt with a train which drew gasps from the audience. Other final looks included a series of beautifully tailored pieces with splashes of red which perfectly encapsulated the collection's futuristic feel.

In summary, Ingrid Kraftchenko's Bodymap collection for Autumn Winter 2023 is a striking showcase of the designer's talent and vision. The collection successfully blends a range of materials, textures, and colours to create a futuristic aesthetic that is both bold and elegant. Kraftchenko's commitment to diversity and inclusivity in her choice of models is also to be applauded, as it highlights the need for more diversity in the fashion industry. 

The collection's message of hope and beauty in the face of the ongoing climate crisis was a much-needed reminder that fashion can be a force for good. As the fashion industry continues to evolve, it is refreshing to see designers like Kraftchenko pushing the boundaries and making fashion accessible to everyone. The location of the show in the historic Old Union Station near Holborn added an extra dimension of interest, highlighting the collection's futuristic vibe. 

Overall, Bodymap is a collection that is sure to turn heads and inspire fashion lovers across the globe.

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