Casablanca Paris Womenswear Selfridges Installation
Sorcha Ní Cheallaigh discovers that Selfridges' dedication to innovative designers and artists proves unwavering.
Jeannie Lee, head of womenswear at Selfridges, views the iconic store’s atrium as a space “to highlight the most exciting stories of the season”, spotlighting brands, artists and causes Selfridges truly cares about. In 2020, Project Earth became central to the atrium’s ethos. Gabriela Hearst installed their deadstock capsule collection ‘Retro-Fit’ on the 2nd floor. The Oxfam X Selfridges pop-up in support of #SecondHandSeptember, was supported by a national campaign featuring multi-award winning actor and writer Michaela Coel. Selfridges apparently understands the value of exposure, inviting contemporary brands and collectives to create an experience in the iconic store for the millions of visitors that frequent London’s West End every year.
In a year decimated by the devastating and ongoing effects of COVID-19, celebration and joy are needed more than ever. Following on from Christopher Kane’s hugely successful More Joy installation, Selfridges has now partnered with French-Moroccan brand Casablanca for their next atrium takeover. “My goal is to change certain perspectives, but also to create a different approach to fashion that is more joyful, colourful and engraved into the culture,” states designer and founder Charaf Tajer on Instagram. With this collection, Casablanca have adapted their vision for the feminine silhouette and truly succeeded in bringing the lazy holiday afternoons to the hectic high streets of London.
“We are honoured to create our own Casablanca get-away for customers inside such an iconic store,” says Tajer. On the amazing relationship between Casablanca and Selfridges, Tajer evokes the designer’s beginnings. “They bought the very first collection from the brand, which was so surreal for me. It seemed a natural fit for us to host the installation, launching our first womenswear collection”.
Despite moving into the colder months, the atrium provides a vibrant visual palette. Signature silk scarves conjure a Mediterranean summer in a collection that boasts retro ombre denim flares and country-club tennis shorts. Sunset yellow fills the atrium space as rounded Moroccan arches and hints of blue sky transport us to the sun-baked terracotta of another life in another place.
The Casablanca approach to aprés-sport is decidedly contemporary, with minimalist yet classic branding. The racing jacket is a highlight, with luxurious knitted cotton spotlighting the precision of the imagery and intricacy of the design. The styles are timeless yet refreshing, like Princess Diana in her post-tennis attire or Lana del Rey’s ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club’. In contrast, the collection’s graphic print turtlenecks are unapologetic. Vibrant and electric designs of opulence demand attention, with an all-over mesh softening the effect. As the brand states, “Casablanca re-interprets timeless environments of a luxurious heritage hotel suite or a crisp glass of champagne at a private country club terrace sunset.” The installation moves seamlessly between young and old; luxury and athleisure, and incorporates the rich dual heritage of Tajer himself. In Selfridges, Casablanca finds its unique place in the world.
The Casablanca Paris installation will run in the Selfridges Womenswear Atrium from the 17th August – 5th September 2021.
For more information on Casablanca, click here.