Hodakova Spring 2022 Ready-to-Wear Collection

There is a touch of Camelot (as in King Arthur, rather than the Kennedys) in the sweep of a regal cape, the neck ruffs and leather corsets that Ellen Hodakova Larsson, an emerging Swedish designer, included in her latest collection, which she’s showing digitally in Paris. This medieval, fairy-tale mood is heightened by the location of the collection film, the swagged, trompe l’oeil interior of the 18th-century Sultan’s Copper Tents in Stockholm’s Haga Park.

The designer says she imagined a dinner play in a castle where the royals have called for entertainment; the models and the garments they wear—each one with its own tale—are it. “The whole concept,” she elaborates, “is looking back into history and also bringing it forward, because I think that is what brings us some authenticity right now.”

In Larsson’s world, authenticity is tactile, imperfect, and purposeful: Everything is made from second hand or deadstock materials that offer roadmaps to their reincarnation and alternatives for conscious consumers. “I’m so hands-on, when I design it feels like I’m diving into how the old construction is and just trying to highlight all the handicrafts that are already there,” explains the designer, who hopes to be able to make change in the industry in much the same way she is able to transform thrift store finds into treasures. These include vintage gloves that have been assembled into a miniskirt and bustier that Larsson described as surrealism in their literal “hands-on” messaging. More political are the pieces made of woven belts, including hard-edged flap bags, which speak to consumerism and over-production. Still, the designer says she wanted things to feel joyful and let the viewer unpack, or perhaps unbuckle, the meaning of these special pieces, some of which are one-offs.

And there are pieces, particularly tailored ones, to get giddy about. Deconstruction has been a signature of the Hodakova line since Larsson launchd it a year ago, and this collection features a nip-waisted blazer with exposed seams that has an off-kilter New Look elegance. Trouser/skirt hybrids abound, and sleeves and pant legs are repurposed, as are the uppers of men’s shoes, which, laid flat, look like butterfly wings on a bustier top. Also airy are the cobwebby dresses made from strands of hand-strung buttons of various vintages.

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