As a previous headliner at Fashion International, Delna Poonawalla is no stranger to London Fashion Week. The Mumbai-born designer first wowed London’s ‘high fashion’ scene in 2014 with her enchanting and feminine designs of her Karmic Kaleidoscope collection.
Back two years later with her SS17 Dark Mistress Collection, Poonawalla’s latest offering couldn’t be further apart from her usual demure aesthetic – think Phantom of the Opera meets Bollywood Glamour. Soft, draping silhouettes were swapped with dramatic, haute couture evening gowns complete with sheer fabrics and overlays, while romantic pastels and bright jewel tones were vamped up to intense shades of midnight blue, blood reds and golds – all lavished with decadent details including leather, lace, beads and voluminous tassels.
From the get-go the show oozed gothic glamour with its showstopping array of couture evening looks, including sleeveless a-line jumpsuits, floor-sweeping Grecian gowns, glamorous saris, edgy-two pieces and sheer capes. Among the show-stealing looks were: a slim-legged, shoulderless gold jumpsuit with a jewel-encrusted sash – a look which fused low-key elegance with Bollywood glamour; a deep blue toga-style dress bedecked in decadent gold embroidery, and a head-turning camel sari jumpsuit with a navy blue filigree-style beaded pattern which shimmered under the spotlights.
The intense craftsmanship behind the Dark Mistress collection really shone through on certain pieces; most notably a gold leather-embellished crop top teamed with satin harem-style pants; a look that screamed Princess Jasmine with a modern twist, while a stunning scarlet v-neck gown festooned with ornate embroidery and figure-hugging silhouette injected some Gatsby-esque glamour to proceedings.
Both dramatic and arresting, graceful and elegant, the Dark Mistress collection is full to the brim with pleasing juxtapositions, and perfectly captured the very spirit of experimentation and ingenuity that lies at the heart of Fashion International. To quote Poonawalla herself: “Fashion is what you make of it. Appearance is an illusion and this moment, beauty and creativity is what matters most”.