Patriotism, expatriation and the migrant perspective: for david koma – born in tblisi, raised in saint petersburg, and based in london for nearly two decades – current affairs have turned his attention to the beloved city he calls home. Recalling his early perception of britain, the designer fuses his memories of arriving in london with an imagined idea of british culture through the romanticised eyes of an expat.
For autumn-winter 2020, david koma studies the heritage, clichés and everyday reality of london through his modernist-futuristic lens. From brexit to megxit and everything in between, the headlines of british tabloids serve as a subliminal echo for the collection. The silhouettes of the london skyline, visible from david koma’s studio in east london, set a newton-esque tone for garments constructed in architectural lines.
The uniforms of the city of london take centre stage. Informed by the icons of the british heritage wardrobe, tailoring and tradition meet the irreverence of present-day london in refined eveningwear fabrics reinterpreted in structural daywear. The eclectic skyscrapers of the city are rendered in plexiglass embellishment, while the bridges of london appear in embroideries.
Royal jewels, the trademark of a non-british view of monarchical england, morph into surface decoration. The queen’s emerald collection inspires faux regal adornment on dresses – the david koma way – hinting at an idea of impertinent royalty. Here, lingerie elements and aspects of sportswear mix with neon bouclé and become part of a neo-noble wardrobe with american tendencies, from shirting to denim.
Two collaborations are presented: footwear designed with aleksandersiradekian, and david koma’s first venture into eyewear with chrishabana. The collection introduces the dk logo – an abstracted monogram used in metal embellishment – as well as an industrial plaque logo in metal featuring the studio’s logo and address. For david koma, the geo branding signifies a cementation of base: london, forever.