Roksanda and Troika collaborate on kaleidoscopic runway set for A/W 2019

Roksanda and Troika collaborate on kaleidoscopic runway set for A/W 2019

How serendipitous that fashion designer Roksanda Ilinčić and art collective Troika work from studios a stone’s throw away from each other in east London. Both operate in different mediums, but their experimentations in colour, from Roksanda’s wearable studies of tone and saturation, to Troika’s explorations into how human perception can alter form, unite their practices.

Ilinčić has long found Troika’s studio a source of inspiration. ‘It’s like an amazing laboratory,’ she explains. ‘Full of maquettes and experimental pieces, liquids and acids and unusual tools.’ She even held the launch of her Cutler & Gross sunglasses line there in late 2016, and used it as the location of her Pre-Fall 2018 lookbook.

In a prismatic partnership, Ilinčić invited Troika – co-founded by Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel – to collaborate on the set design of her A/W 2019 catwalk show, which was held yesterday in Central London. The result? An art installation-cum-catwalk, lined with stark white lightboxes, crunchy salt underfoot, and six large photographic foils reflecting kaleidoscopic light onto models and audience members alike.

‘We’ve never done a stage set before,’ explains Freyer. ‘It was really interesting for us, because you work to very different parameters when making a piece for a gallery or institution.’ Troika’s ‘Borrowed Light’ – a site-specific artwork installed at the Barbican’s Lightwell, and on view until May this year, inspired the runway set up. The suspended mechanised structure is formed from a 24-metre long slowing moving scroll of photographic slide film, changing colour in an infinite loop, in tones that evoke sunset to sunrise. ‘The use of film refers to optical and visual media, and the idea of using this medium to record images,’ Freyer adds. ‘We’ve reinterpreted its role. The film creates rather than documents reality. Over the course of 12 minutes it produces a variant of graded colour.’

Roksanda Ilinčić A/W 2019

Roksanda Ilinčić A/W 2019. Photography Jason Lloyd-Evans

‘Borrowed Light is really about blurring different boundaries and exploring how you can perceive colour,’ linčić adds. ‘That’s an idea I’ve been incorporating into my work’. There are threads of commonality between Troika’s runway installation and her A/W 2019 offering too. Ilinčić’s excellent autumn collection abounded in a spectrum of colour, from pinks to yellows, blues to browns, and featured voluminous proportions, ruffles and colour-blocked stripes.

The catwalk also formed an exciting testing ground for Troika, who used it to experiment with salt, and the use of what Ruki terms as a – ‘space age’ – lightbox backdrop to aid the kaleidoscopic projections. ‘In terms of a fashion show, we were really interested in the fact different elements like sound and visuals can be overlaid with each other,’ Ruki adds. ‘And also the fact that it is a temporal event with models looping around the catwalk’.

The runway installation also bought a new element of experience to those attending Roksanda’s show, part catwalk event, part artwork, exploring the changeability of colour. ‘It’s like a colourful path merging mine and Troika’s worlds,’ Ilinčić adds. §

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