namilia’s fall/winter 17 collection was for warrior queens at a post-apocalyptic rave
All of the Berlin brand’s collections have been about fighting for women’s rights, but this one came when we needed it most.
Berlin brand Namilia has been outspoken about reclaiming female sexuality ever since its 2015 inception (and its spring/summer 16 VFILES Runway debut). But with the label's fourth collection, that message rang out loud and clearer than ever. The printed "Runway Manifesto"distributed to attendees spoke of "Warrior Queens" in military garb and trompe l'oeil wings of fire, and of "Post-Apocalyptic Rave" culture — said apocalypse being of the Trumpian variety. There was an emphasis on "power-dressing," and mermaids mixed with motocross, in a collection that felt larger than life, like an action movie à la Mad Max.
Designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl once again showed their proclivity not only for hip-revealing bodysuits and bridal trains that mimic haute couture, but also for reality TV icons. They presented a Paris Hilton-emblazoned dress and clearly also had Trump on the brain. Neon face and body paint glowed behind The Matrix-styleglasses and beneath jackets inscribed with "Ready for the Trumpocalypse" and "Join the Resistance." Of course, the brand's notorious dickini returned, as well as its delicate phallus-curtain, which floated gracefully, in the form of skirts and coattails, behind militant marching models.
This was not your grandmother's Women's March, the designers made clear. This was a rejection of toxic masculinity which took the phallus and re-appropriated it in ways that would make Judith Butler smirk. "NamiliaWorld," the manifesto explained, is the home of "goddesses" who are "untouchable, unflushable, uncrushable."
One kelly green Barbie-esque motocross-inspired dress was so majestic it proved too difficult for even a reigning goddess to walk in, forcing a model to desert the runway, kicking up feathers and tulle as she went. Easier to maneuver were similar feather-riddled pant-tails that began at the biker kneepad and trailed behind for feet. Camouflage tool belts and seatbelts that clipped around the waist held in place butterfly wings and flames. Elsewhere, that flame motif — scraped straight off a Harley-Davidson sticker — protruded from the sleeves of hoodies and igloo-esque puffer jackets.
Li and Pfohl's message, as their manifesto declared was that "the need for women to dress in a masculine way in order to be taken seriously ends now." And it's a lesson that much of the world has yet to fully learn. But Namilia goddesses lead, fight, speak out, march, and slay, all while undermining male dominance in sparkly phallus-covered bras.
Text Blair Cannon
Photography Fee-Gloria Groenemeyer