dilara findikoglu's triumphant catwalk debut for spring/summer 18

The Kanye West and Marilyn Manson collaborator staged her first standalone catwalk show at LFW, to great success.

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19 September 2017, 11:31pm

As the models took their finale around St. Andrew's church in Holborn to close Dilara Findikoglu's debut catwalk show, there wasn't a show-goer left without a smile plastered across their faces by the young Turkish designer's hardcore punk tailoring, stomping through church pews to the sound of thrash metal.

Dilara's energy and designs feel unlike anything else we've witnessed during the spring/summer 18 season of shows. There's a powerful force that propels her talent and vision, which for all the decoration and intricacy of the designs themselves, feels totally natural and full of her personality.

Dilara's a born rebel. She rejected her conservative Turkish upbringing to live and work in London. She staged her own degree show outside CSM when she wasn't chosen to be part of the college's official platform. Rising through the rank for the past few years -- working with Yeezy, being stocked in Selfridges, creating a merch collection for Marilyn Manson -- this felt like the final hurdle to overcome, a standalone LFW catwalk show. By the end it was like the hurdle was never even there, and she'd been running the 100m all along.

The thematic starting point for the collection was the seven layers of Dilara's imagined society. It was a black parade of archetypes: believers, rebels, thinkers, politicians, religious leaders, royals, god. "These characters are the illusion," Dilara explained backstage "It's about trying to find something more to life, finding that difficult, and feeling lost."

The believer came first, in white, cultish robes, faces painted in occult symbols. The rebels came like goths and punks, Grace Neutral in ornate black witch robes. Another, in a bright pink dress covered in sewn-on patches, like the leather jacket of a Slayer fan. Jazelle, in PVC underwear, a black hoodie emblazoned with "liberty or death". Brooke Candy as an evil vision of the Prime Minister, in a houndstooth red and black power suit. Sussi as the religious leader, face made-up to look like a Buffy vampire, in a hooded PVC cape. The magnificent showstopping finale, however, was saved for Lily McMenamy; in a flowing red dress, trailing regally behind her, representing the god of all gods.

"We cast everyone depending on their characters," Dilara said. "For the character of justice, we cast a lady called Sophie who's an activist. Grace Neutral is the witch. Brooke Candy the Prime Minister. Lily, obviously, represents the god, the boss, the god of all the other characters." If it all sounds a bit much, it never felt forced, the characters instead inhabiting a magnificent array of clothes and bringing them life, rather than overpowering the sheer level of skill and detail that goes into making them.