This time last year, London-based designer Robert Wun had no idea he was going to make his debut in Paris, let alone as a guest on the official couture schedule. Just six months ago, he was polishing his ANDAM Special Prize trophy like the proverbial fairy tale lamp, joking about manifesting a show.
So when he got word of his inclusion in the couture calendar, all his emotions of the past few years came bubbling up. Top of mind was “what couture means, something so passionate that ateliers would use gloves for fear of damaging and ruining [garments],” he said backstage after the show.
Wun said he’d not felt like a ready-to-wear designer in the past couple of years, ever since his eight-year-old brand pivoted to a bespoke business during the pandemic, which saw his designs on the likes of Lizzo, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Cardi B and Naomi Campbell for the first day of London Fashion Week last September.
Despite its title of “Fear,” the collection was about Wun confronting his, including any accident that could happen in a studio and “turning [them] into beauty,” wine spills, rain stains, broken heels and all.
From the relative simplicity of a finely draped black and green gown and a tailored jacket — albeit with coattails and sleeves looping back to the shoulder — to dramatic opera coats tufted with feathers, it was easy to see why performers would reach for his work, but from the looks of his front row, why couture clients also did.
Up close, his designs also showed Wun’s range in terms of fabrications and finish, ranging from traditional beading and embroidery, used to depict gashes or plumes of smoke, to burning and hand-coating silks to modify their look and feel. It spoke of range and precision.
It’s said that one should be careful about their wishes but in Wun’s case, there had been nothing be afraid of.