To be the first designer to open Malta Fashion Week is always going to be daunting, even if one is an established artist or a household name. Now, to open AND impress is double the pressure and stress. Who knows how many sleepless nights one suffers, in the name of fashion, art, and creativity. If we did not have these people, we would be simply wearing garments and peddling rags, as they say, ‘the rag trade’. Artists are there to inspire, enlighten, and overall create a space, even it is a temporary bubble, where you may escape. It is usually felt and agreed on that fashion week provides this bubble, not only for the designers but also for attendees, both for the fashion lovers and the bonafide influencers.
The first designer was Rosemarie Abela, whose collection ‘The Cure’ tapped into ‘the quiet suffering of the ill’. Through her creations, she asks the audience to ponder the implications of harsh realities that we tend to shy away from, whilst we also become absorbed in the glossier world of fashion. The latter does not initially seem to align itself well with illness, usually associated with hospitals. Abela tries to mediate that. Hence the lull, the quiet reflection that was felt among the audience members, and the rather sombre atmosphere that could be sensed. Now when it comes to the collection itself, it can be said that combining the above (that is the stress to perform first and impress) with the serious theme did not always have the desired effect, whatever that was intended to be.
Overall, it is a seamless, cohesive collection because of the choice of materials, the colour palette, and some of the motifs on the pieces, but then when it comes to personal preferences, each piece will have to be considered and assessed separately, albeit based on the premise that there is the element of subjectivity. So what one person loves will not be to the taste or liking of another. With this in mind, and not necessarily removing any doubt as to the ability and vision of the designer, one can gauge that some pieces were definitely more well-executed and successful than others (which came out on the underwhelming side). Well done to Rosemarie and her team for pulling off what is definitely quite a tall order! So here are my favourites:
Photo credits: Steven Muliett (from the Malta Fashion Week page – photos were taken backstage – I used these to show off the lux details in the designs)