With thread woven through a model’s plaited hair, the introductory image of Bobby Kolade’s S/S16 lookbook is instrumental in contextualising his work. While the initial visual impact is somewhat dazing, it masks an intimate fusion of garment and wearer, creating thought-provoking contexts that allow for robust self-expression and an authentic eclecticism.
The S/S16 collection certainly holds true to Kolade’s philosophy of “eccentric chromaticity”. Metallic material, evoking both the disco queens of the 70s and a kitsch futurism, meet austere matte wools within the framework of a tailored jacket. Slivers of wax print inspired cloth fasten onto the bobbly template of a woollen sweater. Loose silken threads trickle over a sheer white veil. Indeed, such textural combinations may appear discordant, clashing even, but beyond the mismatch lies an exploration of the contours and possibilities of fabrics, drawing attention and appreciation to the essentiality of the very components of design.
This intricate pairing and contrasting of materials births what is perhaps his most visually experimental collection to date. Yet, unlike as often seem, there seems to be little opportunity cost, with his trademark mastery of the craft of garment creation as starkly present as ever. If anything, S/S16 proves Kolade’s raw versatility, a perfect companion to his rebellious spirit, illustrated through obstinate refusal to bow to the pressure of trend. All images taken from the Bobby Kolade S/S 2016 Lookbook
Photography | Timothy Schaumburg