For AW22 Bora Aksu transports us to the 14th Century, evoking the zeitgeist of renaissance Europe through the life of writer, poet and historian Christine de Pizan. Through his signature blend of past and present, masculine and feminine, tailoring and tulle Aksu takes inspiration once more from one of history’s overlooked heroines. In a collection punctuated by ethereal silhouettes and bold structural pieces, Aksu showcases the demi-couture style that has become synonymous with the brand.
Taking inspiration from Christine de Pizan, Aksu captures the revolutionary ideals and idiosyncratic stylings that came to espouse this seminal period in European history. Venetian by birth, de Pizan spent most of her life as part of the court of King Charles VI of France, in turn acting as poet, novelist and court historian. Often heralded as Europe’s first feminist, de Pizan overcame the immense challenges faced by late medieval women to become the first woman to earn a living purely from writing; paving the way for the generations of female authors that has continued into the modern era.
A renaissance woman in the truest sense, de Pizan represents the ambition, intelligence, and beauty that Aksu has always sought to empower through his collections. Inspired by the bravery of de Pizan, whose writings discussed everything from philosophy to the emancipation of women, Aksu brings a blend of the hyper-masculine and ultra-feminine that simultaneously juxtaposes their differences while highlighting the beauties found within the overlap. AW22 sees Bora Aksu using silhouettes inspired by the customs and costume of the early Renaissance in an attempt to mirror Christine de Pizan’s own defiance of the status quo.
Aksu combines the styles of the Renaissance with inspirations taken from the 1990s, casting his eye over both periods as revolutionary in their own way. By mixing the masculine and feminine elements of tailoring, silhouette and palette Aksu highlights the interchangeability of gender expression and the beauty of the ambiguous. AW22 showcases tailored suit jackets, crisp shirting and sharp tailoring paired with the soft detailing and abundance of taffeta and tulle that are Aksu’s signature. The blend of classic gendered aspects brings a light-hearted playfulness to the collection, enhanced by the sumptuous palette of navy, butter creams and dusty pinks. Flowing gowns and structured separates evoke the vibrant romance of de Pizan’s life while fine details reflect the affluence and power associated with her place in Renaissance France.
A reflection of de Pizan’s own strength and beauty coming from the very place society viewed as attractive, Aksu utilised scraps of old, damaged and unwanted fabrics to create the statement pieces of the collection. The discolouration and imperfections are brought to life, displaying beauty that can only be found in the unwanted and lost, reflecting Aksu’s own desire to showcase beauty in all its forms.
A key detail of the collection, Aksu takes direct inspiration from the most famous portrait of de Pizan herself. The painting depicts the author deep in thought at her writing table accompanied by her beloved dog and wearing a flowing gown of deepest blue. This blue is a thread running throughout the entire collection, tying together the taffeta gowns, cropped jackets and bringing the voluminous and rich Renaissance style to life in the 21st Century. De Pizan’s dog appears as a motif through the collection, adding a touch of unadulterated joy to the whole affair and building on the humour that Aksu seeks to include in all of his collections.