Everyone got front row seating to appreciate Ritienne Zammit‘s highly anticipated A/W’15 collection, which was showcased at one of the majestic corridors of the Grandmaster’s Palace at Pjazza San Gorg, Valletta.
Guests sat comfortably in the iconic gold backed Palace chairs that were lined along both sides of the corridor with its magnificent inlaid marble floor acting as the most regal catwalk. The historically opulent tone of this most prestigious venue formed the perfect backdrop for this collection, which has been heavily inspired by Maltese history.
Judging by the brilliant collection presented by Ritienne last year, along with this year’s powerful venue for the show, expectations for this collection were set very high.
“L-omm li tatna isimha!” is the masterful brainchild of designer, Ritienne Zammit. The line got its name from the words of the Maltese National Anthem, written by Maltese poet Dun Karm that translate to “The Mother who gave us our name.”
Opening the show with an emotional intro video for this collection, the audience was able to gain a brief understanding of the motives behind these designs just before seeing them come out on the runway before their own eyes. In the video, an interpretive portrayal of the kiss of Judas is acted out by two of the models, signifying the abandonment of Maltese identity.
One model signifying Maltese identity, is wearing a printed ghonnella, a hooded cloak unique to the Maltese islands referenced to the early records of the Knights of St John. Her hands were then tied together with rope by another model dressed in a printed suit, symbolizing the diminished appreciation toward the country’s identity. A dramatic shock sat deep in the hearts of the audience as the screening came to an end and the first model entered the long corridor that was the runway.
Symbolism and metaphors ran wild throughout this collection, an artist’s dream, unfolding on the catwalk. There were anatomical hearts patched onto the garments as bust coverage and elbow patches, as well as printed graphics, wistfully, yet patriotically referencing the heart of Dun Mikiel Xerri, who was shot in Palace Square in 1799. Xerri, a Patriot arrested for his attempts at saving Malta from the French forces in the late 1700’s, shouted his last words, “May God have pity on us! Long live Malta!” as he was shot in the heart.
Moustaches and vintage hairstyles on models, as well as newsprint graphics, printed in different scales on fabrics, collectively referenced Manwel Dimech, a philanthropist who encouraged the independence of Malta through the use of the Maltese language as a tool of emancipation. The face of Manwel Dimech, the national poet Dun Karm, as well as patriot Dun Mikiel Xerri printed on the garments in monochromatic graphics, gave a comic feel to the combinations of rebellious prints, but more on that later.
Monochromatic whites, blacks, and grays juxtaposed the comical use of faux furs, sequins, and thick wool textures. Bright teals, salmon pinks, and dashes of crimson popped up throughout the entire collection. Metallic materials, as well as the familiar see-through plastic used in last year’s collection, was prominent in this line. Tailored jackets wore newsprint and comical faces printed onto the thick fabrics. Varieties of loose silhouettes featured short jumpsuits, long palazzo pants, and free flowing shirts. Structured side pleated A-line skirts and shift dresses with bateau necklines, along with dapper collared suits showed exemplary tailoring skills.
Stark white brows, white eyeliner, and bold white lips on models added to the dramatic look of this collection’s entirety. Fabric choices and bold prints allowed the designer to mix the rebellious historical inspiration with the popular comic theme, prominent in design today.
The inspiration behind this collection was proudly derived from poems and quotes by Maltese patriots and poets whose influences shaped the identity of this country. “The aim of this collection is meant to arouse the gratitude of our identity, language, and beliefs.” These were the opening words by Ritienne, herself.
At the end of the show, as Ritienne walked the runway with her team of models wearing her full collection, she proudly waved the Maltese flag while beaming a wide smile of satisfaction at the gaggle of photographers and media crews in front of her. The largest cheers and applause of the week echoed through the corridors of the Grandmaster’s Palace. A proud statement evoking feelings and emotion, as all great art should, left a colossal impact on many people at that show.
Show review written by Sacha Kinser and Pierre Mizzi (Logix Creative team) for MFWA.
Hair by: Chris Galea at Micheal & Guy
Makeup by: Talitha Dimech
Assistant Makeup Artists: Francesca Attard, Joslyn Falzon, Nadette Clare- Talbot Bettride, Marianne Mallia, Graziella Muscat, Emily Tabone
Check out reviews from our fellow bloggers:
“I felt that overall, there was cohesion and flow in the pieces presented, and the venue was truly ideal in underscoring the colours, designs, and materials.” -Style in Transit
“Not only was I amazed by the whole collection, but just by witnessing this fashion show, Ritienne’s pieces made me feel proud to be Maltese.” -Splashes of Looks
“Tonight’s fashion show was presented at the Grand Master’s Palace in Valletta. A great location with an amazing backdrop for a truly unique & Maltese collection.” -Whimsical Truth
“All that followed is indeed a dream come true. Newspaper prints written in Maltese and featuring some Maltese-Italiano vocabulary, patriots’ faces as well as an outline of our island danced right in front of our eyes, one after the other.” -Ask Dorianne
“Add to that the finger-curled hair of the models and cut-out moustaches, and the location – the Grandmaster’s Palace – which was the seat of Malta’s first constitutional parliament in 1921, this collection was certainly the best researched and most cohesive of all that we’ve seen this week.” -Confessions of a Former Size 6
“The location for this show, the magnificent Grand Master’s Palace couldn’t have more adapted, for it was the seat of the first Maltese Self-Government in 1921.” -Every Beauty Addict’s Bible