Backstage with Bora Aksu SS15

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“The buzz around Bora Aksu is ever-growing; it’s easy to see why.” Vogue


Bora Aksu SS15 Katrina Stamp“All that romantic poetry, painting and music could express, she could express in her dancing.”

From Queen Victoria’s collection of paper dolls, the one she called Madame Taglioni, in honour of ballerina Marie Taglioni, struck the right note with Bora Aksu.  The young Queen was in awe of Marie’s talent and grace and it’s her rise to celebrated dancer that has choreographed Bora Aksu’s Spring Summer 2015 collection.

Initially disregarded as a potential ballerina, Marie’s father was angered by the rejection of his young daughter.  He vowed she would become the most beautiful dancer the world had ever seen, and so, under her father’s tutelage she became the first to dance ‘en pointe’ and become universally celebrated.Bora Aksu Collection SS15

The background for this collection was based on white to keep the lightness in accordance with Marie’s dance. Cottons, silks and organza have been manipulated together to create softness and transparency.  Shades of peach and pink reference classic ballerina tones, while even darker shades of black, cobalt and lilac blues have been used, their light, feather-weight feel is kept.

Despite her glamorous stage appearance, a life of isolation and hardship remained for Marie and this contrast is brought through with textures.  Crochet in white tones creates purity, while the knotted techniques recreate the heavy presence of her private demons.  Throughout the hand-made embroideries and crochets a dragon fly motif is used to represent the transformation of beauty in Marie’s life. This also carries through to the first collection of Bora Aksu eyewear designed by TD Tom Davies.

Bora Aksu Halo & CoThere is lightness and innocence to this collection with fluid movements of silks, tulles and organza.  Separates are mixed with playful dresses and protective layers of cotton embroidery.

Fitting to an inspiration of a Queen, Halo & Co have created a bespoke collection of handcrafted jewellery featuring sparkling Swarovski crystals and delicate fabrics from the collection, perfectly matching and enhancing his work.

Bora Aksu’s Spring Summer 2015 collection is a tribute to the delicacy of Queen Victoria’s paper dolls, and the grace and power of Marie Taglioni.  In a light and fresh collection, Bora’s own ballerina takes flight.Bora Aksu

London based, Turkish designer Bora Aksu received his first acclaim when he graduated from Central St Martin’s MA in 2002. Hailed as ‘the star of the show’ by The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent, Bora’s collection also attracted the eye of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana who purchased pieces to use as inspiration.  Not a bad start!

Building on this, he made his debut off-schedule show at London Fashion Week in February 2003, and again The Guardian recognised his talent, naming him as ‘one of the top five shows’.  He was awarded the New Generation Award, placing him on the official London Fashion Week schedule the very next season.  And, after four consecutive New Generation Awards were given to Bora, he has remained on the official London Fashion Week schedule, with a very distinct signature – Romantic but always with a darker twist; his demi-couture pieces are full of elegance, intrigue and seduction.

During his career Bora Aksu has collaborated with other international brands like Topshop, Nike, Converse and Anthropologie. He has also created costumes for singers Tori Amos and Little Boots as well as dressing Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller.

Always happier in the background and rarely giving interviews Bora prefers to let his designs do the talking but I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the London Fashion Week backstage teams twice with him now.  I’ve got to see just what it’s like when he’s preparing for the runway, how polite and friendly he is, and just how calm he remains throughout.  But it’s that small smile of satisfaction on his face when he sees his collection displayed in its full glory that really makes it all worthwhile for me.

Both times, I’ve been working with the makeup sponsor, Mehron UK and The Academy of Freelance Makeup (AOFM) Makeup Designer / Head Makeup Artist, Yin Lee. Yin Lee London based Yin is a Dutch/Korean makeup artist, who works worldwide for international magazines, fashion shows, and advertising.  Creating the right look for Bora Aksu’s collection is all part of her job as well as managing the Pro makeup team, supplied by AOFM.Yin Lee for Mehron UK

AOFM Pro is a London based freelance makeup academy and Pro also has makeup schools in Paris and New York.  AOFM Pro has close ties to London, New York, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks and does the backstage makeup for several on-schedule and off-schedule shows. Over the seasons, the AOFM Pro Backstage Team has designed and executed looks for some of the world’s most renowned designers including DAKS, Moncler, Duchamp, Viktor & Rolf, DKNY, Max Mara, Dior, Pucci, Roland Mouret and more.  With AOFM Pro Yin has designed the makeup for shows including Lie Sang Bong and Haizhen Wang and London Fashion Week SS15 sees her collaborate again with Bora Aksu.

With her versatile skills and natural flair for detail and perfection, she is in high demand.  Her work has enabled her to collaborate with some of the industry’s leading photographers and high profile global publications.  Yin is also the Chef de Cabine for fashion shows in New York, London and Paris.

BoraAksu SS15 Face ChartThis season’s collection for Bora Aksu was married with an illuminated and fresh makeup look.  Skin carefully prepared using Mehron’s Celebre Pro HD Foundation.  The eyes were shaded with Mehron Cinnamon E.Y.E. Powder eye shadow, also applied underneath the bottom lashes in a slightly darker application, to bring out the shape.  Strong lashes, top and bottom and E.Y.E. Liner Pencil – Auguste applied to the bottom water line to give the idea of big innocent eyes.  The whole look was completed with L.I.P Color Cream – Zinnia.

Mehron Melik founded Mehron Inc. in 1927 in New York City, just off Broadway. Perfectly located, Mehron catered for the makeup needs of the artists and performers in theatre, opera, ballet, and silent films.  2012 marked the 85th year of operation for Mehron, and today, a diverse group of over 3,000 retail stores carries the Mehron brand of products, worldwide.

A clever makeup look, using fabulous Mehron makeup products, subtly designed by Yin Lee to compliment the beautiful pieces created by Bora Aksu, allowing his designs to dance and shine.

The talented KMS California hair team were also back stage this season for Bora.  Hair was tied in a loose ‘worn in look’ side pony tail – the effect as if the model had been dancing already.  Bora Aksu Model a SS15The hair was then wrapped with black elastic to show discipline and strength and to give the impression of the leg ribbons from ballet shoes.  KMS California was founded in 1976 by Jamie Mazzotta.

Each model’s nails were delicately painted by the UK Jessica Nails backstage team.  Bora had selected ‘Enchantress’ as the colour to match the collection and tie in to the makeup look.  Jessica Nails was started in the 1970s by Jessica Vartoughian, who developed her range of Jessica nail products in America, which has now grown to be a worldwide nail care brand.  Movie stars, models and VIPs regularly have their nails manicured at the renowned Jessica Clinic on Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles, as well as being avid users of the Jessica Nail products

Overall, a stunning Spring Summer 2015 collection and a top performance again by Bora Aksu.  I look forward to his next season’s runway show and being welcomed back stage again to be part of that ‘ever growing buzz’.

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