Henna Malhan – 26, Womenswear designer – describes her earliest fashion memory as a Polaroid of her mother from the 90s: ‘She was in a park wearing a beautiful, full red suit with a cropped blazer. I remember just staring at it taking it all in.’ Malhan has now interned in the ateliers of Tom Ford, Sharon Wauchob and Preen. Her final collection, When I Kissed Back, is about intimacy with oneself: ‘It is a dark romance, where you allow yourself to question all that you thought was true. What you are and where you should be.’ She describes her collection as a memory, whether sweet or bitter. ‘It honours the complexity of human nature, where it is difficult to realise if it’s fear or elation, desperation or exhilaration, hate or love.’ Botticelli’s painting, Primavera (1470) was the inspiration behind the velvet prints, being particularly drawn to Flora, Goddess of Spring, as the collection reflects upon the strength of nature. The fabrics used represent a quiet force within Henna’s collection seen through broody and rich juxtapositions of intensity and calmness. Silhouettes were formed through research into boxing: ‘one look was inspired by this vintage, leather protective headgear from the 1930s. It is full of history, and absolutely beautiful. The way it was made is raw and genius.’ For the future, Henna would like to continue expanding her knowledge in design.
Olivia Reynolds, BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism