Issa goes from Russia to Shanghai for Inspiration for A/W’12

by Katie on February 20, 2012

Hmm, where do I start with Issa? When Daniella Helayel sticks to working her trademark zshushy printed wrap dresses and evening column shifts (so beloved of Princess Catherine and her bourgeois chums), she’s on a roll. When she doesn’t, it all starts to go a bit awry. Like juggling too many balls or spinning too many plates in the air, leaping from Siberia to Shanghai for inspiration, clashing her prints and concentrating on styling and direction is best left to another design house when really, its the simplicity of form and print that sells it for the brand.
Daniela Helayel took Russia as a starting theme (a key trend and influence over London Fashion Week) and transported us on a make-believe journey of the Trans Siberian Express. In amongst the big bouncy hair and wrap dresses worn over matching leggings much of the time (extend that brand and double the wear) there were paisley prints aplenty, headscarves worn hippie style and also tied around the neck like a Boho matroyshka. 
Bright orange or green print mini dresses with fluted sleeves were worn over leggings as were kaftans and knitted or fur capelets. The mish-mash of influences (geographical and period) had me in a quandary as ’50s styling met ’60s and ’70s, like a mash up of an Issa imagined James Bond does Notting Hill/Upper West Side. Fur cossack hats and long leather boots unified but just as soon as we were starting to see this theme. it was about change to Shanghai and on-trend, golden foil print Chinese dragon dresses and then….we were back to 1920s flapper styles again. Confused? Yup, me too.
The collection worked best when individual shining stars were shown – the satin bias columns, the long kaftans with bejewelled necks, the red lace shift, the (lone) Princess (Kate) pea coat that looked lonely and in need of company. 
Perhaps Daniela feels that she’d be typecast if she kept showing the looks we know and love, but conversely, this season it seems that the designers who haven’t tried too hard to impress with trend and ploughed their own (narrow) furrow have gone down best with the fashion audience.

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