Antwerp, Belgium-based Florentina Leitner is here for all the witches. “They used to burn strong, powerful women on a stake, but our women are surviving,” she said at a showroom appointment.
As a muse for her fall collection, the designer took Joan of Arc. Her depiction in cinema, including Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 silent film and her successive incarnations by actresses Ingrid Bergman, Jean Seberg and Milla Jovovich also added influences, although they were harder to spot outright.
No models were harmed in the making of her film, which had CGI flames licking at their stockinged legs and captured in her grandmother’s stately home — also unscathed, Leitner promised.
The designer’s women may not have the French historical figure’s penchant for masculine clothing, but they’re certainly no demure wallflowers, either. How could they be when there are micro-miniskirts and velvet body or purple mesh suits on offer?
The lashings of lush green that ran through the collection symbolized things growing again, as did the motifs of flowers that appeared as screenprints, embroideries or puffy embellishments. References to the warrior-maiden were dealt with a light hand, like a subtle nod to her armor executed as a silver sequined column dress.
Taken individually, pieces showed Leitner’s eye for charming volumes and interesting shapes, but the lineup failed to coalesce in the way her work usually does.