Sassa Jimenez has just single handedly proven that romance is not dead. For this season’s Manila Fashion Festival, Sassa sent different iterations of every girl’s Sunday’s best in the form of flouncy, frilled dresses down the runway. While ‘girly’ isn’t always a compliment due to the naiveté it entails, the designer’s latest collection ‘Alice 2.5’ has reclaimed the term through a perfect mix of whimsy, nostalgia, and femininity.
Using a tried and tested mix of textiles – tulle, satin, and silk gazars – Sassa was able to create totally new looks by mixing strong structural forms with soft details and accents. With a strong focus on juxtaposition as a recurring theme in her work, the looks displayed a good sense of balance between serious and playful – the proper amount of restraint on both ends of the spectrum.
The show itself was a simple experience. Bright lights and a modest ballad helped keep everyone’s focus on the clothes. With most shows nowadays forcing a sensory overload upon their audiences, it was a breath of fresh air. Sometimes we forget that there is nothing quite like getting lost in the garments themselves – the details of the dresses, the movement of the fabric. In this case in particular, there was quite a lot to get lost in.
An abundance of excesses was put into play. Ruffles and pleats of all sizes, ribbon and lace of all shapes found their way onto the romantic silhouettes of Sassa Jimenez. Soft-hued tulle was layered atop patterned bases, creating subtle prints and added drama. The formality of it all was balanced out by perfectly pared down footwear – socks tucked into oxfords and casual heels.
A clear stand out from the collection was a ruffled, red dress with a high neck and no sleeves. Existing as something in between an a-line and a shift, the dress was definitely made with the modern woman in mind – the proof for that being the presence of pockets. The show finished strong with a patterned mini dress under a swishing and swaying forest green gown featuring a Victorian halter.
While the intricacy and sheer girliness of ‘Alice 2.5’ is reminiscent of Sassa Jimenez’s early work, one could never call this a form of regression. There’s an understanding of how girlhood and womanhood converge at a certain point that is hard to speak about but – as Sassa has proven – can be expressed visually. There’s a subtle air of maturity in this latest collection that saves the whole idea from being just another pastel-coloured princess show. That sense of awareness, I believe, makes all the difference.