John Herrera is the designer we look to when we want to power dress; not the stereotypical concept with strong shoulders and streamlined tailoring, but pure confident empowerment. The sharp tailoring, the symmetry in construction, the exaggeration of the female form; every element of this latest collection celebrates women as a force of nature.
The brand first launched in London in 2015, when Herrera was chosen to participate in the British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase. He later went on to win the London Emerging Designer Awards at Somerset House.
Models were made up to look like formidable eagles and warrior women, with hair slicked back into tight braids and structured brows giving the look of a fiery-eyed bird of prey. Each woman was adorned with an individually crafted feather headpiece and flowing earrings that hung from ear to ear in a drape of beads as a necklace.
‘Agila’ was inspired by the designer’s Filipino roots. Herrera used a dye sublimation technique to print original artwork onto textiles for this collection. He looked at two main features of Filipino history and culture for inspiration – tribal art and tattoos, and the Philippine eagle. Agila acted as a symbol of the collection, and the name comes from the Tagalog word for eagle.
We came into the presentation to find an ongoing live performance of the Lahing Kayumanggi dance company, a powerful exhibition of drumming and physical dance. It was a beautiful display of Filipino folk culture that was a recurring theme throughout the collection.
Herrera’s colour palette was an earthy, animalistic spectrum of sepias and multi-tonal browns. Silhouettes were striking and defined, with the female form exaggerated and accentuated by the recurring eagle design throughout the collection.
‘Agila’ was designed as part of a collaboration with Epson. Interestingly, with digital textile printing, only the precise volume of fabric is utilised in garment construction, therefore minimising wastage. These advances in technology are an important step forward for sustainability in the fashion industry.
Photography: Ghene Snowdon