It's safe to say that, amongst our top Maltese fashion designers, Charles&Ron reign supreme. Twenty years in the Maltese fashion scene are a milestone and a half, as longevity and relevance are hard to achieve in a relatively small community like ours. What is admirable about Charles Borg and Ron van Maarschalkerweerd's work, especially in recent years, is their fidelity towards current trends, which never rang truer than in their latest collection, Silence, which they presented at Moda Malta on the 1st of November.
Why the title? Although it does lend a sinister feel to the collection, Silence is first and foremost a reference to the Silent City of Mdina. By delving even deeper into the mysteries of its numerous palaces, Silence evokes the sensation of secrets whispered behind closed doors, through which one steps into a different, historical dimension. The designers' continuous effort to retain Malta as their main inspiration would, in the wrong hands, likely turn out to be an exhausting endeavour. Yet their perenially varied sourcing of the Maltese culture not only keeps their creations fresh, but also reminds the viewer of the different strata of our lore.
The collection is up-to-date in several ways. The cocoon sleeves in the door-printed dress above, when accompanied by the maximalist print and the leather accents, complete with Obi belt – which harks back to the Orientalist trend also hinted at in Luke Azzopardi's show – are in equal parts adventurous and appropriate. The marriage of lace and leather contributes to the image of the Dominatrix – sultry, controlling, distant and powerful.
The looks are red-carpet-ready sensations that are not only striking but also layered in meaning and inspiration. Congratulations to Charles&Ron for producing a well-versed lineup of modern, relatable yet breathtaking outfits that will guarantee double takes and looks of envy at the powerful and untouchable woman shrouded in their creations.