Charlotte Olympia’s New Africa-Inspired SS 2016 Collection
Charlotte Olympia chose a careful inspiration for her spring/summer 2016 shoe and accessory collection, entitled “I Married Adventure,” based on the memoir by Osa Johnson. The looks were created as a trip around the world, but clearly her thought process stopped frequently in Africa. The leopard and alligator patterns were by far the most striking prints. Her deep red alligator clutch was larger than life, and brought a new, high fashion light to the image. The image of an alligator mixed with a high fashion clutch seems mind-boggling, but one look at the product, and I’m on board.
Another like-juxtaposition is her use of wood. The mixture seems so unconventional and outside the realm of a luxury shoe line, but Charlotte Olympia has never been one to stay confined by barriers. She added the wood to a shoe, as a platform and as the heel itself, and the result was gorgeous. Paired with a pale fabric and leather designed to mimic wood, the whole shoe almost appears to be carved from wood, at a first glance. The wood is also used later, in another shoe featuring an off-white fabric. She used a similar technique with a simple white clutch, which she adorned with the weaving wood. This clutch skirts the edge of luxury, but really works in her favor, especially with the jewel spider atop the bag.
Her use of prints is truly remarkable in the new Charlotte Olympia spring 2016 collection, and it is unmistakably her own. The slightly-eccentric design aesthetic really shows the fun, quirky nature of the designer, and creates some remarkable work in the end. So even if the methods seem a bit mad at times, once you see the outcome, everything comes together.
There are no boundaries with this collection, as everything seems to be incohesively cohesive. She uses animal prints/textures, subtle colors, bold colors, quirky prints, wood, and even in one case, a map of countries as a print. This shoe is a show-stopping piece, and uses the actual countries’ shapes to contour the shape of a shoe. This is such an intriguing, innovative design, and embodies everything Charlotte Olympia is about as a designer.
She plays to her strengths with print work, but in some cases, it seems she abandons this. She showed a pair of shoes, featuring not only leopard print, but the whole leopard skin, pasted on the front of the shoe. This blatant disregard for her aesthetic in the collection to that point is striking, and also makes for a fun shoe that makes one question the use of animal prints in the fashion industry.
There is no doubt that Charlotte Olympia took her inspiration from Africa for her spring/summer 2016 collection. She incorporated new, fun aspects of design that showed her innovation and creativity as a designer. Even the gaudiest pieces were fun, because Olympia puts her stamp on everything she creates, so you know you’re always in for a fun adventure when a new collection comes from her.
Photos courtesy of Vogue