“I’ve spent my whole life trying to prove that pink can be powerful, that feminine can be feminist. It’s unsettling to think that in our society, for a woman to look strong and ambitious, she still has to hide her femininity by dressing in a man’s jacket. To me, nothing looks more powerful than a woman in lingerie,” Elisa notes on the importance of this colour choice. The designer cites her Sicilian heritage as a catalyst for her evident interest in expressions of femininity, referencing her experience of womanhood which has proven to have been something both “totally submissive” and “powerfully passionate.” Any preconceived contradictions in these terms are what Elisa seeks to subvert through her designs.
“My personal experience with pole dancing is used to subvert the female gaze and express the core values that soak through the tissue of my collections.” – Elisa Trombatore
Her debut presentation featured much of this conflation between traditional understandings of femininity and power. The models, wearing Elisa’s garments, bear a resemblance to a post-apocalyptic ballet troupe. Within the interior of what appears to be a decaying Victorian manor, pink tulle and chiffon meet scissors and warpaint. Despite the apparent restriction of certain garments, the models move freely through the space, dancing.
The ability for Trombatore’s models and customers to move and express themselves comfortably is essential to the ‘DREAMING ELI by Elisa’ ethos. Again, the attention to movement and expression returns to the same themes of sexuality and femininity that inspire Elisa’s use of pink. Elisa’s personal experimentation with pole dancing is a central inspiration where movement and garment construction is concerned: “My personal experience with pole dancing is used to subvert the female gaze and express the core values that soak through the tissue of my collections.”