Originally created in 1965, Willats' designs were made up of a series of differently coloured PVC panels that could be zipped up together to create coats and dresses, while geometric Perspex elements could also be applied to the panels to customise the garments and the wearers or the people who interacted with them could insert into the clear plastic panels of the dresses a series of purposefully designed words.
Koma’s predilection for appliquéd glass decorations in vibrant shades of blue, red and yellow made by artisans based in Saint Petersburg, and his "cyborg-meets-Art Deco" jewellery pieces first made me think about this connection with Willats.
For that collection Koma claimed he had taken inspiration from architect Antonio Gaudi and art nouveau, but also from one of his fashion heroes, Pierre Cardin.
References to the Italian-born designer and to his futuristic creations were clear in the three-dimensional glass reliefs applied by Koma on the fabric that created innovative architectural and curvilinear motifs on body-hugging mini-dresses and tops.
After seeing various celebrities - Megan Fox, Cheryl Cole, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga included - wearing David Koma's dresses, I was honestly worried to see what he would have come up with.
It's indeed unfortunately very easy for young designers to burn out after being favoured by famous singers and actresses.
Yet the 25 year old designer born in Georgia, grown up in Saint Petersburg and currently working in London where he also studied and where he won the Harrods Design Award with his 2009 MA graduate collection at Central Saint Martins, showed celebrities are not all and proved he is completely focused on his work and on how to incorporate interesting inspirations in his designs.
Unperturbed by the many celebrities who picked his designs last year to appear on TV shows and stage performances, Koma presented one of the strongest collections showcased during this edition of London Fashion Week.
Last Friday on the runway of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout show, Koma left behind his colourfully futuristic designs and turned to a more arty type of futurism.
Behind Koma’s sculpturally tailored black, grey and nude body-con dresses with zig-zagging motifs and jagged edges in wool, leather and suede that ran around the body, breaking it up in halves, revealing the skin underneath and turning it into an iconic part of the design, behind the silver and gold zips twisted and whirled around the body to create stegosaurus-like spikes, there was the art
of the Italian futurists and in particular of painter, sculptor and illustrator Fortunato Depero and of Umberto Boccioni, painter,
sculptor and theorist of the Futurismo.
Koma's zig-zagged designs called to mind Depero’s painting "Fulmine Compositore" (Lightning Composer, 1926) and his sketches for pencil ads (1925).
The spikes made out of zips reminded instead of Boccioni’s studies in the continuity of space and his sculpture "Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio" (Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913).
In the latter Boccioni harmonised speed and force into a sculptural form, creating a figure that strides forward leaving behind fluidly aerodynamic ripples, curves and lines.
As Koma's models walked across the runway the designs they wore turned into three-dimensional portraits of a powerful body in action and the zip spikes gave a sense of visually strong dynamism.
It was refreshing to see such tailored interpretations of futurism and, hopefully, in his next collections Koma will come up with more intriguing incarnations of equally interesting inspirations.