Much the same as Erdem Moralioglu’s offering this Spring/Summer 2024 season, Emilia Wickstead looked to the socialites of the 30s and 40s to inform her collection. Specifically, she zeroed in on those who summered in the South of France, the ones with a growing need to move freely, thus countering the constrictive fashions of the time (read: under-structures and corsetry). The ones who would pinch a pair of their lover’s boxy linen shorts for a day by the Riviera.
While they may not have realised it at the time of sunning, this particular set of women, carefree of mind, would go on to pave the way for modern womenswear. And on September 18, inside the ornate foyer of London’s Royal Academy Of Arts, Wickstead nodded to their collective efforts in one mighty colourful outing. A warm ocre, lemon and pale blue stripe extended to a trench, mini and maxi with a thigh split. Bateau necklines—a very 30s silhouette—were peppered throughout. Slouchy shirts were teamed with slouchier pants, and a standout tunic in a gold and fern green floral pattern fused Wickstead’s signature with the European women of yore.
As look 15 approached, the revered designer ventured into silk eveningwear, all beautifully draped and gathered—some floor-length and glittery, others fun minis that will be the talk of parties in Cannes come the film festival in May. Rooted in practicality (of course!), it was a reprieve to see Wickstead sparingly smatter her signature floral motifs throughout the collection. And even better to see a boxy linen shirt-and-short duo—almost like a sailor suit—being heralded as the comfortable European summer essential.
Thank you to those free-thinking women. Now, where should we book our next visit to the Côte d’Azur?
This article originally appeared on Grazia International