Dua Lipa wore it. She wore it Madonna. Director Janicza Bravo and model Ella Emhoff wore it and unleashed street style in a frenzy. I’m talking, of course, about Chopova Lowena’s huge pleated taffeta skirt, attached by carabiners (yes, the mountaineering clips) to a sturdy leather belt.
These pleated wonders, made of recycled taffeta, are the foundation of the London brand, which will host its first show on Friday, the second day of London Fashion Week. “It’s so strange!” says Emma Chopova, speaking in a breathless few moments between the schedule of the show earlier this week, of the virality of the skirt. “I do not understand!”
“I don’t know how it happened, really,” adds Laura Lowena.
“It’s kind of a ‘classic’, where it reminds you of a kilt or skirt that is alone guy different, ”suggests Chopova. “This is a lot of what we like to do, actually. We like the things that [you feel] you know what they look like, but we’re mixing up some of the elements.
“I like that a lot of people see different things in skirts too,” adds Lowena. “Uniformity, a scholastic femininity, or a kilt, or something truly traditional.”
“And also full”Says Chopova. “Really pleased loads of fabric, which feels luxurious ”.
That mix of weird and luxurious is at the heart of what makes the brand so appealing to such a diverse group of women (besides Harry Styles). But there is also, fans warn, a sense of joy that the clothes convey. “On the way to the venue, every stranger’s head snapped to look at my skirt and the kids came over to mess up the folds,” says Steff Yotka, writer and editor who has been a cheerleader for the brand since. its launch. (She was also helping the women organize the show.) “Emma and Laura draw from a place of warmth and feeling, it bleeds in every garment. It’s tough, radical and pretty, a costume for the woman I want to be. “
Women really want to make a statement with their clothes, but much of what’s available to pull that lever is hard to put on or, frankly, looks cheap. Chopova Lowena’s dresses and skirts – their hero products, although they also produce colorful leggings and an excellent fleece jacket – are the kind of thing you might forget you have until a passerby smiles at your wild dress. And most importantly, the build quality is impressive. The carabiners on a skirt I bought last year are held neatly in place along the top of the taffeta by small pale pink rubber rings; the brand’s voluminous dresses, which appear like a curtain on the coat rack, reveal a subtle columnar couture shape inspired by the 1940s when tucked over the body.
Chopova Lowena did not decide to make a luxury item, per se. “In the beginning, it was really difficult to find someone to make the clothes because they are extremely complicated,” says Chopova. “And it was really difficult in the beginning. I think we weren’t obsessed with quality and we were lucky that our factories were doing well. ”But the company quickly got over that configuration and, when they made their latest collection, they decided to find a factory that could make the skirts, which retail for between $ 800 and $ 1500, with more polish. “Us want things to do well. We want things to last, and especially skirts. We went back and improved them. ”
They are obsessed with the details of their pieces, such as buttons, ribbons and closures, to make sure they have the same maniacal sophistication as the rest of the object. “We don’t want to create clothes that are just disposable clothes,” adds Lowena.
This is an exciting and aesthetically radical idea to listen to. (Especially from London-based designers, where fast fashion has a hold on women’s wallets and minds.) Luxury has become too fixed in our minds as something subdued, subdued and minimalist. What Chopova Lowena proposes instead is that souvenir dresses, the kind of pieces that women pass out now in vintage stores, can instead be a source of unbridled pleasure. And if you look at what’s available on 1stDibs or Vestaire, or vintage shops on the agenda like James Veloria and Lily et Cie, it’s the expressive pieces that historically become collectible.
A runway debut is always a sign that a brand has greater ambitions than a lookbook could allow; and while their clothes already encourage movement, the designers tell me they are exaggerating and elevating more details, and are working on a rich narrative about the Bulgarian Rose Festival (Chopova was born in the United States, of Bulgarian parents, while Lowena is a native of the United Kingdom). From an industry perspective, it’s noteworthy that designers have both a distinct sensibility, conveying happiness through things women want to keep forever, and a design signature. Very few up-and-coming designers have both, and it suggests they can build a sustainable business even without the backing or support of a date at a larger fashion house. Perhaps today’s show will bring a new band of women to their next memory.
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