Anya Hindmarch S/S16
Anya Hindmarch S/S16

I’m never quite ready for Anya Hindmarch. Sure, I sort of know what’s coming, but then, at the same time, one never really knows what’s coming. Her show sets are always unusual and artistic in ways that stretch the imagination. That’s being nice. This morning’s set made my head spin, quite honestly. In a good way, I suppose. The concept was absolute genius. I just wasn’t prepared to be thrust into the middle of a kaleidoscope this early. Actually, I don’t think I would be any more ready later in the day. This was a very mind-bending experience.

Without putting you right in the middle of the set, it’s a bit difficult to describe. Hindmarch never uses a regular runway, but this season she went with a circular design. Into that circle she placed four sets of mirrors, effectively dividing the circle into quarters. The triangular mirrors were angled like the inside of a kaleidoscope so that, on top of a mirrored floor, one sees the models from every conceivable angle. While it sounds neat, the reality, paired with an electronic soundtrack, felt more like a strange trip into the future.

All this to sell handbags.

We can somewhat ignore what the models are wearing, although in this case the John Lewis inspired graphics on the ensembles were works of art in of themselves. Too bad you probably won’t see any of them in stores. What matters are the handbags, which also incorporate many of those same John Lewis inspired designs, including some retro brand designs that require one having been around a few years to recognize. Of course, they come in every imaginable size and a lot of different shapes.  This collection actually takes a more conservative turn toward practicality than what we’ve seen in previous seasons. One bag with an accessory that looks a bit like a can of tennis balls is about as off-the-wall as she gets this season. Backpacks are still as strong as ever, and there didn’t seem to be as many small pieces as we’ve seen in previous collections. Still, though, I think she pretty well covers every conceivable handbag need.

Once all the models had made their way around the set, they were replaced by gymnasts dressed in blue body stockings who took to the mirrored set and used a variety of poses to create a human kaleidoscope. The effect was incredibly impressive. The gymnasts moves were carefully choreographed and executed with precision, an impressive piece of performance art that makes returning to the real world a little disappointing.

Giving Hindmarch’s runway a diversity rating is a little difficult, given that hair and makeup are designed to make the models look a bit androgynous, but I know at least eight of the thirty models were non-caucasian, possibly more. We’ll give Hindmarch the benefit of any doubt and give her a six on a scale of ten.

Hindmarch is another designer offering select pieces from the runway for sale for a limited time, so if you see something you like you might be wise to snatch it up now. Hindmarch’s bags seem to not stay on store shelves very long and I’m sure these will be no exception.

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