Featuring decapitated doll charms, mermaid-core, and Scooby Doo yarns
Landing at an abandoned ballet school, with “Mad World” playing in the background, Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter sent their models floating over the runway in textural knitwear and baby troll keychains. Elements such as the barbed-wire-like doll chain, blazers with sharp tailoring disrupted by a twisted knot around the torso, and thin plastic tubes woven into voluminous jackets and trousers, all elevated a sense of suspended reality – like a semi-hallucination where everything feels slightly off. As the show progresses, though, the hazy dream-state quality quickly sinks in, and all the oddities take on a certain bliss as a part of a cohesive narrative.
Exemplifying “Caribbean Couture”, Botter‘s elegance and innovation are embedded in the flow of the collection – each piece is grounded yet possess an airiness to it, gliding over the wearer’s body as if it were its own spiritual extension. Within this, Botter are not afraid to colour their silhouettes outside the line, but they do it with thoughtfulness and intention, as seen in the black cut-out suit exposing gracefully exposing the leg and barely-there floral blouses and dresses.
Botter‘s witty approach to marrying exceptional craftsmanship and compelling storytelling is what has always drawn us to the label (we’re still not over the last season’s water-filled condom gloves serving as a statement of the growing need for protection of the ocean). Now, the duo behind the brand does it again, as their SS23 collection draws upon inspirations from its Caribbean heritage – in particular, Haiti, and spiritual legacy from the region’s native religion, Vodou. Focusing on its main pillar, “the unity of all forces of nature”, the collection drives away from the Western misconceptions of Vodou as being a dark practice, and translates its true philosophy through a lens of childlike joy. Redefining the pop culture meaning of a ‘voodoo doll’, Botter upcycles old toys to create neon-haired troll necklaces and a belt made entirely out of baby hands – and the neon plastic rings at the base of vests, jackets, trousers and bags were actually disguised Scooby Doo yarns. The idea of connectedness was also felt through oceanic motifs in pieces like the mermaid-like textured dress and the hypnotic tide of the Reebok collab slider. Of course, there were also Haitian art prints and lots of futuristic evil eyes – these symbols almost become omens of a modern consumer – the one who is in touch with the world’s heritage and nature, while approaching fashion with humour, poignancy, and class.