Leather corsets, '20s shapes at Bora Aksu's show

SYLVIA HUI Associated Press Published:

LONDON (AP) -- Severe-looking leather corsets, exaggerated shoulders, shades of muddy greens and gunmetal: Turkish designer Bora Aksu's latest womenswear collection may feature lots of tough design elements, but his signature romantic style still shone through on the catwalk Friday.

The London-based designer opened his London Fashion Week show with a series of ivory crocheted dresses worn with high, buttoned-up shirt collars -- beautifully soft designs that had a definite vintage flavor. All-leather ensembles of capes, bomber and cropped jackets and pencil skirts came next, but the delicate sensibility continued: the leather looked buttery soft, and the palette was muted and earthy.

Later, models wore sweet baby-doll dresses in clouds of light pleated chiffon, but the best pieces layered the contrasting textures in one outfit: a suede corset worn over an ethereal navy blouse, or a gunmetal leather dress under a billowing, sheer purple cape.

Fur and shearling trims were applied on shoulders and all over chunky jackets, and furry sleeves added a grown-up touch to an otherwise schoolgirl-like outfit of blazer, shirt, tie and skirt.

All the models wore delicate, metallic headpieces that framed the face, an accessory that managed to look modern and nodded at flapper style at the same time.

Aksu, who describes his trademark style as "romantic with a darker twist," said the collection was inspired by the Dolly Sisters, a pair of twin Vaudeville performers who were famous in the 1920s.

His autumn 2013 collection was one of the first to be shown at the 5-day trade event. Displays later Friday included a graduate show from art college Central St. Martins and from Australian design duo Sass & Bide.