RAFW – Gail Sorronda

RAFW - Gail Sorronda

MAY 07 2010

As the last show of the night and running over an hour later, the pressure was on for Gail Reid, designer behind Gail Sorronda to make staying up past many of our bed times worth while.

Luckily the show began with the loud throbbing beat of drums, which might not be ideal listening at 10:30 at night, but it sure helped us all stay awake. The brief read like a creative writers dream with gems such as ‘like a rain cloud of mosquitoes blanketing the sun,’ but failed to clearly communicate anything about the new season – which was also a sore point for the collection that followed.

The intense mood created by blaring music, dark lighting and severe topknot hairstyles were cleverly softened by the billowing layers found on a white peasant smock dress. Highlight pieces including a white sailor dress with self polka dot print, a tuxedo jacket and pants and black ruched baby doll dress, all illustrated Reid’s quality of craftsman ship and romantic details but failed to portray a cohesive theme.

There was a subtle Aztec reference present with beaded headpieces, necklaces and belts, as well as an industrial vibe thanks to exposed zips, a steal backdrop and steal bolted headpieces. The dramatic headpieces, as gorgeous as they were with chain details and beaded fringing, over powered the soft romantic pieces rather than complimenting them.

Reid’s love of the sleeve continued this season featuring in sheer balloon shapes, stiff leg-o-mutton and puffed sleeves. Innocent white smock dresses with tiered ruffles were reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides, but were given clever ruched details and cut out backs to appeal to a modern audience. There is no denying Reid’s strengths lie in the details. Intricate ribbon detailed dresses (albeit two of them) were incredibly beautiful, and Reid’s choice in fabrication was flawless.

As the white pieces stood out amongst the haze of smock, the black dresses, vests and capes (however commercially viable they may be) were almost invisible under the dark light. After so many seasons of monochrome, finally this season colour in the form of a warm butterscotch tone had finally arrived. Once again it would have been a positive to see Reid develop colour more and incorporate it into more of the collection, rather than just two tailored dresses with stiff sculptured sleeves.

The title of the show Murmur proved key to the way the show could be dissected. After last year’s opulent feather covered collection, this year I could not help but think that Gail may have failed to present a clear vision of the world that she was probably hoping to invoke. The result was instead a murky image of Gail’s signature talents, mixed with contrasting elements that failed to unify.