The Greek myth of Apollo and Daphne placed two humans on the opposite ends of the passion spectrum – Apollo had been bewitched to fall in love with Daphne while she was bewitched to hate him, an enchantment inflicted upon them by the arrows of Eros. In order to escape Apollo’s passionate pursuit, Daphne was turned into a laurel tree, a tragic tale of unrequited love poetically captured by Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi in Ashi Studio’s opulent Fall/Winter 2016 collection.
Ashi immortalizes Apollo and Daphne with a sculptural display of tulip-shaped silhouettes meant to “embody the lover’s heart darkened by the heat of passion, reflecting the flower’s essence”. Stiff folds of fabric are molded into cascading waterfall ruffles on shorter frocks and into voluminous ball skirts on regal, high-necked gowns that evoke a Renaissance feel. In order to reflect the spark of desire Apollo felt for Daphne, Ashi decorates his lavish designs with shimmering details and embossed embroidery along necklines and hems to recall the canopy of leaves that decorated Daphne’s laurel limbs.
When Ashi Studio debuted its Spring/Summer 2016 collection on the digital pages of Savoir Flair, we called the collection “the most beautiful thing you’ll see all week”, but it seems Ashi has managed to outdo himself with a truly sublime collection of high-occasion evening gowns for Fall/Winter 2016.