Emilia Wickstead’s name is practically synonymous with the phrase “understated elegance,” so you’d be forgiven for not immediately associating her namesake label with the dark and twisted cinematic universe of David Lynch. But of course, this is what makes Wickstead so dynamic — her skill as a designer is taking eclectic cultural references and distilling them into clothing that is sophisticated but never boring.
Take Fall/Winter ‘23, for example. It was the first runway show Wickstead has staged since the pandemic, an intimate affair at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Her new season mood board was filled with images from Lynch’s ‘90s TV masterpiece Twin Peaks — the oversized tailoring of Kyle McLaughlin’s Agent Cooper, the ‘50s poodle skirts and shrunken sweaters of Sherilyn Fenn’s Audrey Horne, the slick tailoring and understated sex appeal of Joan Chen’s Josie Packard. Those appeared alongside frames from Martin Scorsese’s equally beloved ‘90s hit Casino — the gaudy color palettes of Robert De Niro’s suits and the unapologetic glitz of Sharon Stone’s Ginger McKenna.
The end result was a collection that married sophistication and surrealism. Chic overcoats were dramatically oversized; knitted two-piece sets featured kitschy graphic patterns; suiting was flared and finished in pink-and-black houndstooth check. Color combinations were unexpected too: skirt suits, shrunken knits, and fitted day dresses came in a palette of pistachio green, burnt orange and oxblood.
Wickstead described the collection as “quite a simple, effortless way of dressing,” which does a good job of describing her brand in its entirety. And that brand is ever expanding — Wickstead just opened her first bridal salon, hot off the heels of a sell-out homewares collection. With a roster of fans that spans the A-list to royalty (Princess Kate Middle is a long-time fan), the Wickstead empire is set to keep expanding.