A welcome warm respite from the torrential rain which had overwhelmed the Monday of LFW, the foyer of Sketch was dark and mysterious. We were shown through a neon-lit corridor and down stairs to some closed heavy green curtains, rustling in anticipation of Keiko Nishiyama's SS16 presentation. On being ushered through the small gap between them, which quickly closed behind us, we arrived in a small yet decadent tearoom. Tables were laden with millefeuille, teacups lined the room and in the middle, sat on wicker chairs, were two models enjoying their afternoon tea.
When everyone had gathered, watching the central table expectantly, the models stood. They burst into modern dance, moving around the room and each other, casting elongated shapes with their bodies. A cage containing a huge butterfly skeleton was lifted from the table to join the dance, held above heads in an homage to Nishiyama’s inspiration for this collection.
Then the catwalk began. The collection, named Lepidoptera after the alternative word for the butterfly species, was a feast of texture and pattern, layering abstract motifs in blue, green and lilac on white, cut-out fabrics, creating the impression of fluttering movement. Beetles and butterflies appeared on plainer garments, tying the collection together as a whole.
All intrinsically wearable, the clothes ranged from cute shirt-dresses to smarter trousers and tops tucked into skirts. Shoes were either pointed, curly-toed clogs or pretty sandals, adorned in the same fabric as the clothes.
The butterfly being synonymous with delicate elegance, it is no wonder that Nishiyama’s collection is one of feminine grace. Known for infusing inanimate objects so deeply into her designs that they evolve into completely different, and beautiful, forms. Nishiyama’s vision of her SS16 woman is poetically feminine, yet committed, bearing resemblance to the fine yet strong structure of the butterfly.
The presentation was a serene haven from the outside world. Beyond that green curtain, it didn’t matter what existed because inside was a paradise of intricate design (and tea), and I can only imagine that this feeling of calm beauty will only extend to embody the SS16 woman who will wear Nishiyama’s pieces.