John Paul Ataker Spring 2017

John_Paul_Ataker_Spring_2017_firstview_If there is any doubt that Turkish designer John Paul Ataker has a penchant for the operatic, that the last of his models walked to the sound of Ennio Morricone’s Gabriel’s Oboe and the finale proceeded to the same maestro’s The Mission, should erase all uncertainty.

Collages880The collection—the self-described goal of which was to take “us back to ancient Assyrian culture, inspiring classically modern prints and sculpted shapes that create an elegantly tailored silhouette to enhance the feminine form”—while dramatic and diverse, lacked the thread of concinnity that gracefully sews such an ambitious undertaking together.

Collages881While the three-dimensionality of some of the pieces, including a white gown with peplum covered in multi-colored butterfly appliqué, is laudable, at best the clothes were a showcase of angelic intention and at worst, an exhibition of dizzying devilish details. Certain pieces, such as blue and yellow shiny taffeta gowns both belabored by multi-fold peplums, were in dire want of restraint. A cacophony rang out where a simple melody was craved.

Images courtesy of

Images courtesy of

What Ataker’s collection lacked in editing, however, he made up for in pageantry: sheer trains swept from armholes beyond the length of the dress in one look; in the final look, a model manipulated the many-tiered train as though it were the wing of a seraphim. His passion is palpable and the time that was lavished on these confections is unmistakable. The purest notes were the dulcet tones of a peach high-low hemmed gown with its fitted bodice and hoop skirt. In this one piece, Ataker achieved Wagnerian echelons of romance without the coloratura that marred several of the other looks.  With a little more isolation of ideas, Ataker’s voice would carry more clearly, and he would have us singing his praises.

—Natasha Nyanin

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