Stepping back in time: delicate architecture in Luke Azzopardi’s Opium Addict

A few Saturdays ago, on a cool evening, I made my way to the capital city for yet another fashion-related event. This time, however, it was not a conventional fashion show with a catwalk and seated attendees. The construct of the event was designed to reflect the theme of the clothes, which on viewing hark back to eras such as the turn of the century and the 1920s. Both periods celebrated boundless opportunities and peaks of creativity in garment design. The raffish sensuality and courageous choices in the materials, colours, and designs back then were enough to give women excitement to last them for weeks but to make them yearn for more at the same time.


Azzopardi’s choice of ambience and setting were indeed reminiscent of the period drama Mr Selfridge, which revolved around the first department store that presented women with the most wondrous silks and pieces beyond their imagination. A mix between this and Moulin Rouge, Azzopardi’s 2016 collection entitled The Opium Addict was presented at Camilleri Paris Mode in Merchant Street. The latter was transformed into an emporium of sorts, where models were wearing dreamlike, fetishist creations by the talented and visionary Gozitan designer. As the bespoke shop opened its doors to a few guests at a time, I awaited my turn feeling simultaneously relaxed and intrigued. On the one hand, the pedestrian car-less area outside the shop made it possible for the sprawl of attendees to enjoy a glass of Prosecco and catch up on latest news whilst waiting to enter, as they listened on to the harp play on. On the other hand, the anticipation mounted and was indeed satisfied once I made my way in and encircled the models to snap a few photos and admire the intricate structural designs.


In this cabinet of curiosities, as the event was subtitled, there were a number of models showcasing floral-themed designs. The colour green was predominant and its opulence was contrasted with the dreamier whites, one that could easily be worn as a bridal gown. To match, a male model donned a crisp white suit. Together in a tableaux, they seemed to be cast in a scene from a Tolstoy novel, as a rich pair of nobles tired and disinterested after a ball.


That is the success of this event, though, as it conjured up different feelings and contrasting settings, or at least that was my reaction. Another interesting addition was having a model in the shop window instead of a mannequin, clad in a luscious forest green velvet piece that seemed to emerge from the greenery above. This tableaux was complemented by the harpist outside.



Back inside, the green took a slightly brighter shade in two different cuts. The corset-like gown was imagined and designed to create a flattering figure for the model or whoever wears such a creation. In fact, the designer revealed that the clothes were created with the models in mind, which explains the perfect fit. This is an important concept for designing, because it is not just about the dress or the garment, but it is also about the person wearing it who will ultimately tell the story.


Well done, Luke, once again you have enthralled us and proven that your designs are a feat of structural engineering that create more than wearable garments. They give frisson of excitement to the onlooker and wearer alike.




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