The Wildflower collection marks a pivotal moment for ELLISS, showcasing the signature collagescape designs in a runway show format for the very first time. For Autumn/Winter 2023, creative director Elliss Solomon draws inspiration from both nature and the risqué. Prints collaged from vintage fetish editorial, dropped low-rise waists and seductive mesh, juxtapose the notions of serenity that ensue with prints of soft florals and surreal organic forms. An amalgam of comfort and fearlessness her eponymous brand – ELLISS – has become known and loved for. A woman who at the same time feels at home in nature as well as the comfort of her own living room, places she can escape to and be her own muse.

Setting the scene in the Museum of the Home, the show took place within the tranquil pavilion encircled by an English herb garden, demonstrating an array of plants through history. With guests arriving to a sudden shower, seats quickly filled. Rays of sunshine started to break through the clouds just as the show began. The sun grew stronger throwing dappled shadows of leaves into the garden, and the models appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.

Shades of slate and blush pink served as the base note for the collection. The first looks included subtle blown-up prints that play with a mixture of natural elements and textures, such as rock formations, branches & leaves on a variety of mesh midi dresses, denim mini skirts and plain bra tops. The knitwear offering expanded its category with effortless cuts and more form-fitting asymmetric silhouettes. The models carried novel knitted ELLISS ‘Droplet’ bags, ranging from micro phone pouches in mimosa and blush to over-the-shoulder shoppers and maxi throw-all bags. Material novelties in the collection included Ecovero, RPET, and Tencel fabrics, shown respectively via lightweight printed stretch and translucent plain styles. All looks were paired with ultra-lightweight, knitted shoes from sustainable footwear brand VIVAIA, introducing pops of colour throughout.

ELLISS signature figurative prints were not to be missed this season. Appearing first on a denim ankle skirt, subtle blurred hands elegantly hold it in place. Followed by the more complex prints in the collection, designs included cinched corset prints on leotards and belts cleverly placed under the bust. The collection rounded off with graphic satin slip dresses and maxi skirts with low-slung waists. The prints, partly inverted and transformed, reference the subdued elegance of a powerful woman.

A custom-made den-like sculpture from set designer Camilla Byles was placed centre-stage within the pavilion for the models to loop around. The sculpture mirrors ELLISS design process by combining domestic objects: stacked elements included triangular mirrored table legs on a foundation of vintage interior design books, a statuesse winding or shelving unit towers above a wooden table top. The sculpture was wrapped and draped with metres of printed mesh, juxtaposed with cascading pale yellow latex referencing the fetish editorial that inspired the collection – rubber gloves and welly boots. A work of contrasting textures, colours, shapes and materials reflecting the sometimes naïve and haphazardly thrown-together way of living within one’s own home.

A highly diverse casting from casting director Lisa Dymph included some of Elliss’ friends such as artist Anousha Payne, her sister and her mother. Gallerist Antonia Marsh presented one of the first pops of colour, wearing a knitted two-tone scarlet and navy two piece. Essentially, a true family affair.

Championing exceptional female figures of this world as part of the brand ethos, the Wildflower collection leans into the colour palette used by the only female master of the Bauhaus movement, German textile artist Gunta Stözl. Moreover, the collection highlights the work of dressmaker and activist Amelia Rosina Lane by collaging her likeness with Alice Louisa Belgrave’s innovative hybrid bloomer dress onto the ELLISS lane body and ankle dress.

After the show, still bathing in rays of sunshine with natural ‘skin contact’ fizz in hand, guests suddenly huddled under the overhang of the pavilion as the heavens opened with a crash of thunder and a shower of hail began pouring down. The timing couldn’t have been more quintessentially English. A swift reminder of being in the city of London – as the serenity of the walled garden had allowed the guests to forget for a brief moment.