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The Modern Queens of Bora Aksu’s SS13 show were inspired by the English Princess Marie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who became Queen of Romania at the outbreak of World War One. Known around the world as the ‘modern queen’ for her efforts to connect with everyday citizens, including volunteering for the Red Cross during the war, Marie was just as famous for her connections with men who weren’t her husband.

To distract from her marital frustrations, Marie immersed herself in Deco art and in her botanical gardens, passions that inspired the prints running through Aksu’s Spring/Summer collection. In further homage, each model wore a knitted crown by Liria Pristine as they graced the runway.

The first look out confirmed Aksu’s position as the King of layering; sheer baby blue chiffon printed with opaque botanical Deco motifs overlaid a glistening white brocade under-dress. Cinched at the waist with a dove grey band, topped with a matching collar and worn with tattooed blue tights, there was edge to this puff-sleeved prettiness.

Party dresses mixed with elegant tailoring; cropped tuxedo jackets and origami-folded pencil skirts came in shades of champagne and violet, and were accessorised with laser cut clutches and etched baguette bags made in collaboration with Bracher Emden. As the show progressed, the colour palette became bolder, with golds, purples and blues combining to dramatic effect. A poorly judged shirt and tie combination was quickly eclipsed by darkly romantic dresses, where navy chiffon layers toned down sumptuous orange underskirts.

The Bora Aksu aesthetic becomes more beautifully refined with each passing season, and the regal yet romantic sensibility of this most recent offering makes a strong suggestion for how a certain modern Duchess could really set the fashion world on fire.

Words and images by Charlotte Gush

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