Taking place in an old baroque church turned concert hall in Westminster, the theme of music was essential to Alhuwalia’s FW23 collection. From hip hop to Bollywood soundtracks, British designer Priya Ahluwaliah was transported through time to her early years through a soundtrack that inspired her latest offering.
Titled “Symphonies”, the collection nodded to her Indian and Nigerian heritage through the use of bold colours such as on a bright green hooded coat over a green top with orange and yellow detailing and its matching skirt. Elsewhere music inspired Alhuwalia’s designs quite literally, mimicking the musical notes and waves on several pieces including a red mohair button up cardigan with yellow and blue detailing.
As music was such a big inspiration for Ahluwalia, through its emotional sharing and through memories, the show was accompanied by live piano renditions of some of the designer’s favourite songs, from 90s hip hop to naughties best hits, as well as dancehall and afrobeats. In an ongoing partnership with Microsoft, Ahluwalia also offered a QR code for attendees to scan so they can also enjoy the designer’s playlist.
Alhuwalia’s tailoring has always been key to the brand, and FW23 did not disappoint. We saw 70s inspired suits, a beige two-piece with a strip of blue running down from one arm to the other and a double-breasted overcoat with a yellow-chequered print on one side and colour-blocked black on the other. The collection also offered some playful denim pieces, one of which was a skirt made out of three different denim fabrics in varying colours.
This season also marked the first time Ahluwalia sent down accessories and shows, including sunglasses in collaboration with Ace & Tate and a remodelled Chelsea boot with the signature ‘A’ on its heel, a brand logo also found on a belt. Other shoes included a partnership with UGG where the designer was seen putting a twist on the classic shoes. The collection also offered a series of clothing in pink, magenta and red tones, such as a two-tone mini dress with bright pink loose ruffles on its collar and cuffs.
Overall, “Symphonies” felt like a natural evolution for Ahluwalia, focusing on what the brand does best with a touch of personal storytelling. With her use of bold colours, her sense of strong tailoring and a banging setlist to match, Priya Ahluwalia reminds us all why she is one designer to look out for.
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