Building from her A/W 11 collection that directly referenced Frank Gehry's deconsructivist architecture or "DeCon," Ma embarks on a fashion odyssey into the depths of feminine reconstruction. Inspired by the reconstruction of the Château de Versailles, this collection represents the audacity with which the relics of a bygone era may be torn down to make space for the regeneration of the feminine aesthetic. The employment of Versailles as a conceptual leitmotif, however, also reemphasizes Ma's desire to juxtapose the inherent radicalism of London fashion with the suave yet assertive femininity of the French woman. By confronting this gargantuan task, Ma attempts to bridge two of the most revered fashion traditions whose cultures have at times meshed while at others clashed. Indeed it is in her effort to find harmony amongst cultural dissonance that Ma uncovers a new definition of femininity.
The collection itself is a scintillating celebration of Ma's craftsmanship, a combination of thematically consistent colours and textures that are at times conservative and at other times experimental. Having placed a greater focus on texture in her first two LFW attempts, this time around Ma teases us with a more direct narrative that is owed to the usage of mid-night blue, navy, macaroon blue, mint all the way to creamy off-white and pure white. The strong usage of colour in this collection does not, however, hamper Ma's usual dexterity evident in the handmade 3-D lace as well as the hand-sewn golden beads that resemble something plucked straight out of the Hall of Mirrors. Printed images of doors, frames and handles make direct reference to the decadent sensitivity of the Château's aesthetic.
In what has become a near trademark of her work, Ma once again impresses through the aggressive usage of fine fabrics. On the one hand, the likes of extremely thin wool, mixed silk satin, silk twill, tulle, sand wash silk, double georgette, and lambskin represent the elegance of Ma's vision. On the other hand, however, her bully tearing up of triple layer crinkle chiffon is suggestive of the daring Château de Versailles reconstruction. Despite her increasingly Francophile leanings, Ma does offer a final ode to her London roots by applying plastic UV that attracts light underneath a pleated organza with shredded holes in order to draw a "lace-like pattern of light" on the aforementioned printed images.
Combining the sacred and profane of two distinct fashion worlds and cultures thereby, Ma closes in on a vision of femininity that hitherto has been undefined. Ma's woman is undeniably strong, but her strength is not owed to the masculine femininity of recent times but rather to a femininity that stands on its own, delicately, with sophistication, but never silenced.
Masha Ma S/S 12 gallery