Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence was Stacey Bendet’s start, middle and end point for the Autumn/Winter 2017 Alice + Olivia collection, so enthralled by the tale of one woman creating her own destiny in a man’s world was the designer, having been given a miniature version of the novel by the author for her birthday.
Set between Renaissance Florence and the Mughal Empire, the two worlds provided ample inspiration for print, pattern and embellishment – Alice + Olivia mainstays – with Bendet darting between and, in some cases, incorporating both into one look. Embroidery was key, with Florentine florals and Indian motifs decorating miniskirts, tailored coats and tunic dresses, but print provided the stand-out looks, with Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera (the Renaissance masterpiece features in the book) making its way onto two silk skirts and an exquisite narrative scene dancing across the satin folds of a floor-length gown.
Camouflage jackets and military accents, meanwhile, made reference to Rushdie’s telling of battles, while the overarching feminist message – something Bendet has never shied away from sharing – was delivered most literally on a T-shirt that read: 'Be The Change You Want To See In The World'.
Alice + Olivia