For Elle Fashion Week’s opening show, Disaya’s ‘Celestial Warrior’ was not quite the big bang I had expected. The cosmic theme was intriguing enough, and certainly less mundane than those usually adopted by local designers, but there was no major reference to the universe.
I had thought of Star Wars but dismissed it since the costumes of Princess Leia and Padmé Amidala were too obvious choices and not of the Disaya aesthetic. Darth Vader? That would be pushing it. What I had in mind then was Journey to the West (improbable as it might be), with the Emperor of Heaven’s celestial warriors battling the Monkey God. I was clearly off-track because, from the first model to hit the runway, it was certain designer Disaya Sorakraikitikul, a Central Saint Martin alumna, was very much earthbound. Okay, she was looking at the stars as there were, later, silk blouses and dresses with naive, join-the-dots illustrations of the constellation (some dots were joined to form the words “follow me”). I tried not to think of the Tsumori Chisato jersey dresses I recently saw at Blackjack.
The first outfit of knee-length frock-coat in black, worn over what looked like body stocking, was smart but nondescript, just like those that are part of the winter uniform used by flight stewardesses when they arrive in cities of colder clime. In contrast, the footwear was an attention grabber: gladiator-style sandals with straps that coiled their way up to the thigh. They looked brutal, which led to the question, how were they worn?
Any hint of toughness, as evoked by the epic-sounding theme, remained mostly at the feet. Above the ankles, the clothes were not hard-edged. They were characteristically soft, and it is this softness that defines the brand. While I was disappointed not to find anything worthy of a warrior, Disaya fans will be delighted with the familiar: clothes that, in spite of the soldierly suggestion, will not challenge their femininity. There were sleeveless dresses, romper suits, shell-tops, tiered skirts, the odd coat or two and the occasional draped number. Recurrent details include box pleats with lace insets, doily-lace bodice, oversized button-and-loop fastening, pearl fringing, scallop edges (and those that were perforated and tiered). All the outfits were worn over what looked like bodysuits. I wondered what the clothes would look like without the black, sheer under gear.
In the end, the collection was based on imagined galactic colours rather than actual motifs. The models did try to look like there were despatched for an inter-planetary war, but they were not outfitted nor equipped to fight! Still, they marched on, and halfway through, shades of the black hole turned bright. Buttercup, fuchsia, and cyan flashed by. This was abrupt, just as, I suppose, it would be in space during an unexpected gas influx or particle storm. Time to abandon ship.