Emilia Wickstead’s spring/summer 2022 collection film is a paean to the world of French New Wave cinema. The visually arresting ode to Last Year at Marienbad, shot by Robin Mellor and styled by Vogue’s Kate Phelan, is as mysterious as it is appealing. “The film was radical for its time and combined classic style with modernity and ease,” the designer tells Vogue. “This is the spirit of this collection; it’s about romance, nostalgia, summer holidays, and the meeting of the old-world and the new.” Here, five things to know about the Wickstead woman we all want to be next season.
French New Wave film buffs were in their element while watching Wickstead’s beguiling show film. Staged within the dramatic, manicured gardens of Gloucestershire’s Badminton Estate, everything – from the sculptural hedges to the surrealist camera angles – nods to the unconventional 1961 mystery, Last Year at Marienbad. Following a clutch of anonymous aristocrats around a palatial château, the film fuses reality and fantasy, past and present, in a philosophical and extremely beautiful rumination on human interaction.
Wickstead took the idea of striking juxtapositions and ran with it, infusing her spring/summer 2022 collection with androgynous shirting paired with XL feminine shawls, diaphanous skirts with spray-on, swimsuit-style tops and all manner of other interesting cuts and silhouettes. The effect, when situated within the stately grounds of Badminton, was one of grandeur, but also remarkably wearable – except for perhaps the crop tops (depending on your gym routine).
Speaking of midriffs, Wickstead has decreed the waist the new erogenous zone. Accordingly, pencil skirts come super low slung, A-line evening gowns have sensual, low-rise drop waists, and there’s plenty of soft corsetry at play. Realised in Emilia’s wonderfully juicy palette, the looks seem less revealing, more statuesque.
Lovebirds, fish and wreath motifs bring Wickstead’s restrained elegance to life, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Clare Danes and their tropical fish tank scene in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet making an appearance amongst the Marienbad images on the moodboard. This tropical reference manifested itself in the marriage of blood orange and porcelain-blue prints, and the lime, magenta and tangerine colour blocking. The bold rose motif, meanwhile, was an ode to the universal symbol of love.
An homage to Delphine Seyrig’s Marienbad hairstyle, which was widely copied in the early ’60s, was perfectly coiffed by Tosh at L’Oréal Professionnel. But the focus of the “handsome beauty” at large was individuality: all clean skin and angular eyeliner, courtesy of Naoko Scintu at Charlotte Tilbury. With little in the way of accessories – bar the occasional punctuation of pretty-tough Jessica McCormack jewellery – the sculptural hairstyles looked all the more arresting.
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