Bora Aksu opened London Fashion Week in style with his stunning Spring/Summer 2014 collection. His tenth year at LFW was marked by a return to his Turkish roots, with washed out blue tones and traditional crochet featuring heavily.
Seated in the audience were famous faces including Suzy Menkes, Hilary Alexander, Laura Whitmore, Kate Nash and Made in Chelsea's Oliver Proudlock, as well as Turkish ambassador H.E. Ahmet Ünal Çeviköz.
Speaking exclusively to HELLO! Online, the Fashion Week veteran talks about his inspiration from Istanbul, why he likes dressing Kate Nash, and how his aunt contributed to the collection.
CLICK ON PHOTO FOR BORA'S COLLECTION
You debuted at London Fashion week in 2003. What does it feel like to be opening the show ten years later?
"I've really felt a part of London Fashion Week for the past 10 years. My whole fashion journey started here so I wanted to take it to a really personal level. I went into my childhood and memories of where I grew up, and those became a part of the influences."
Was it hard delving into something so personal to you for this collection?
"You design in your own cocoon so it's always very personal, and then you have to expose it to the outside world. That's the whole industry and part of the work but it feels like reading your own notes out loud to someone. In that sense it was difficult but I also really enjoy it because I was putting something of my soul into it. I could go even deeper I guess [for a future collection]. It's not just the story or the colour or the fabrics. It becomes something else."
Do you still get nervous before a show?
"It's funny but I do actually. I think the key is to keep the amateur spirit in you so it's still exciting. Before a show it's like going into an exam! This is something you can only do if you really love it, and I love doing what I do, and I will carry on as long as I love it. But yes, I still get nervous before the shows. Always."
What inspired the colours in the collection?
"In Turkey we all grow up with the nazar boncuk [evil eye beads]. When you're born they put a bead on you to ward off evil. I grew up surrounded by that belief. I wanted to emphasise that part of our culture, and the blue shade of the nazar boncuk became the starting point for the collection, as well as the traditional Iznik tiles which can be found on the Hagia Sophia or the Topkapi Palace. They are really worn out and faded. The colours sort of bleed and you get new shades of blue and white. I have a huge archive of photos I take whenever I'm in Istanbul and it's amazing that you get different patterns on the same wall because it's aged differently. Getting something new from something old is kind of like my design philosophy."
Do you have a favourite piece?
"I like the long looks in this collection because they were statement pieces, and I love the second to last look because all the crochet was done by my auntie in Turkey. There's a lot of work behind it. There are a lot of hand details done by my family, and they send [the work] over and I use it in my collections. The long pink gown is another of my favourites. I almost wanted to create a ball gown that is also traditional and casual so I added pockets — a kind of comfortable ball gown."
Tell us more about your family's involvement…
"My mum has done the knits for past collections. She'll gather all her neighbours and they'll hand crochet together. I find it really sweet. It's part of the culture. They all get together and there's lots of tea and coffee and gossip. They never know how I'm going to use the pieces [that they make] so they're always asking me what I'm going to do and making suggestions. They like to bring their own ideas into it."
Who would you most like to dress?
"Kate Nash has always been a fan, and I love dressing Kate because she has this kind of feminine but tomboyish style that works really well on her. I also like some of the new artists like First Aid Kit for example — the way the girls dress. Being in London you're exposed to all this underground art and culture and music which is really inspiring."
And finally, how do you plan to celebrate another successful show?
"I think I will sleep. And tomorrow will be my Burger Day so I will have lots of burgers."
Bora Aksu's 10th year at London Fashion Week was sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
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