Like a charismatic pastor captivating her congregation, Karen Walker has always understood the cultish power of fashion. Previous collections have explored all branches of religion from Quaker pilgrims to jungle voodoo.
In this new resort range, her open-eyed gaze turns away from the mechanics of belief systems themselves and focuses instead on religion as a search for utopia. Walker is always an explorer looking for new, exotic places and for her Runaway Girl, heaven really is nothing more than the ultimate resort destination.
If one were to holiday in Heaven, then this would be the perfect wardrobe to pack. There’s a sense of the divine in the sweet and saintly dresses, blouses and oh-so-soft suiting, in ephemeral, weightless fabrics – gauze viscose, silks, organza, crêpe-de-Chine and cotton lawn, offset by the cult chic of washed denim and plaid. The colour palette too proclaims innocence in sky blues, sweet peachy apricots, papal red, pale lilacs and greys.
Smock shapes, oversized silhouettes, frills and statement bows hark like heraldic angels calling us to the clouds. The softest renditions have the hint of communion gowns, while the bolder versions in tropical prints take inspiration from the energy of Jamaican Pocomania.
God is in the details of course. Shots of metallic in the thread of the plaid suiting, sportswear toggles on capes and blouses, tiny pin-pleats on brilliant blue metallic dresses all point towards a higher power. Scarf prints could be taken from the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel. Rococo cherubs smile beatifically, and the Michel- angelo-esque hand of God is sending us in every direction at once, hinting at the ultimate irony of choosing our path in the modern world. If Heaven really is a place, then perhaps we’re already there.
Heaven Knows is available from September 2018.
[Photo Credit: Courtesy of Karen Walker]
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