Theodora Bak was another surprising find in the showrooms this season. Before I had even had the chance to see the collection, I was chatting with the designer, Maria Federica Bachiddu, herself wearing some of her latest work. Her strong personality was perfectly personified in her collection.
For this collection, she looks to the archetype of outerwear, the hood, which protects and shapes the body of the wearer. This caused her to rethink and redefine the use of this garment in the contemporary as a leitmotif of her collection and offer the idea of the total look. She uses this to redefine the silhouette of a contemporary warrior. Incisions and holes allow overlapping of soft fabrics that move on the body, while belts, corsets and straps create tension. This is how Federica expresses her idea of the pure and spiritual contemporary woman who is also a warrior dealing with everyday problems.
The ideas of transformation and versatility also play in her collection. Here, belts are also bags, capes are dresses. The pieces were designed to be worn individually yet put together, they become something altogether different.
Federica takes inspiration for her collection from varying places. From the great costume designer Danilo Donati in costumes created for the film Pasolini's Gospel According to Matthew, as well as the worlds of bondage and fetish for her accessory designs. As an Italian designer, one can see that ancient Rome and that cities eternal spirituality cast against pagan ruins of the mythological memories of warriors and gladiators, are a central source of inspiration.
Theodora Bak also redefines gender norms with this collection. Now, the images below are all female though these garments were traditionally worn on male gladiators in ancient Rome. I (a cis-male) also took the time to try some of the pieces in the showroom and would feel comfortable walking down the street in a great many of them.
This collection is also the height of luxury. Theodora Bak uses luxurious materials, like vicuña wool, and interesting combinations, such as leather edges on linen pieces, all crafted by some of Italy's finest craftsmen.