Taking inspiration from the Egyptian sculptures of Isis, Basil Soda presented a richly detailed collection of dresses that stood tall and regal, like ancient and elaborate sarcophagi. With ornate textural designs mimicking the flat and paneled aesthetic of the Egyptian artifacts, Soda has an expansive vocabulary of embellishments that he mixed masterfully into compositions that told a story through their textures. In what, to the designer, was a minimal approach to the translation of his idea, he inverted the primary aesthetic aspects of the Egyptian style by applying them to the detail elements of his garments. The use of the color gold, for example, as details in the exposed padded shoulders in an all black dress, or fabric with gold fibers woven in to mute the intensity. Layers of black lace over gold lamé also diluted the gold, while modern surface treatments mimicked the repetitive horizontal lines so often used as a simplified geometric way to represent texture and movement in the flat Egyptian style.
Breaking away from the body, he molded shapes in the fabric as if he had chipped away the shape of the dress form the outside in, finding softness little by little from one single brick of stone. Even panels inserted vertically into the seam that undulated slightly curving up the body or over the hip, stood firm and fixed as if in stop motion. Within this structure, Soda found ways to place soft draping that intensified the rigorous details, like the intricate and noteworthy macramé designs, while giving the eye a place to rest.
With a stockpile of ideas from his past experience as a master embroiderer and years at Elie Saab, Soda uses techniques from couture’s historic heritage, but in a way that modernizes them and gives new life to their traditional applications. Mixing and matching his techniques of choice, he applies them to laboriously perfected silhouettes that show a real ambition to push the limits of the season’s cross-collection reoccurring themes. Basil Soda is dress design at its best.
- Lee Anderson, Parisian Correspondent
Designer website: www.BasilSoda.com