Hot Girl Summer all year long – that’s the key message from the first day of London Fashion Week. Nensi Dojaka is one of the freshest forces in womenswear for a long time to emerge from London. The creative directors of LVMH judged her to be that the other day, when they awarded her the 2021 winner of the LVMH Prize from an impressive field of global contenders. Dojaka has a lot of fans. Dua Lipa and Rita Ora are among them; like her, both have Albanian roots and have grown up in London. Dojaka has lived and studied in the city since she was 17 years old. First she learned the exacting art of lingerie technology at London College of Fashion, hence her fanatically perfectionist expertise in the minute calibrations of fitting bras and multiple, adjustable straps. She then progressed through the Central St Martins MA course, then to her first group outings with Fashion East. She had her first solo show yesterday – a collection which showed all the finesse she’s managed to evolve in dressing the female body in classily engineered nuances of reveal and conceal. Dojaka’s is a total look that’s arrived just in time to greet the pent-up longings of women who’ve spent too long in confinement and are looking for an exit from all-concealing smocks and whatever homewear descended to during lockdown. Here was her antidote: dresses topped with petal-like bras held on with minute rouleau straps to reveal plunging backs; high-waisted, super-fitted, tapered trousers and draped, twisted georgette tops. Tailored jackets, some of them detailed with separate sleeves, were tied on with slim black ribbons. Then the tights: who’s ever seen leg-wear like Dojaka’s hosiery, with a cut-out zone containing a tulle flower on one thigh, and seams running up the front? Her repertoire runs through pointy, strappy, kitten-heeled shoes, rib knit dresses, draped swimwear and bras. The fact that her business was essentially formed during the worst of the pandemic is testament to the down-to-earth realism of this hard-working young woman. She makes sophisticated, desirable, complex product that’s centered on the complex desires of her sophisticated female peers.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.