The rainbows, the garlands of flowers, the scatterings of 1960s influences and the overwhelming girlishness of it all. On seeing Lady Petrova’s new collection for the first time you think you must have slipped into the world Lana Del Rey inhabits in her dreams. And no sooner did the bouffant hair and lilac organza put Video Games on repeat in my head was I told that Del Rey did indeed patron Lady Petrova’s Melbourne boutique while on her Australian tour.
But in the absence of Del Rey’s ‘gangsta’ heavy gold jewellery and tough-girl touches, something in Petrova’s collection also looks too sweet. The kind of sugary sweetness that can turn sour at any moment; the innocent child who turns out to be a ghost, the discarded doll, the twin sisters in their ruffled blue dresses in the warped corridors of Kubrick’s The Shining.
In fact Petrova cites ’60s girl-pop group The Shangri-Las and The Shining as the inspirations of the collection: this is hippie-femme shadowed by something sinister.
The thing about Lady Petrova is that she’s been a purveyor of this particular aesthetic for a number of years in her native Melbourne. She is this vision of whimsical, lace-trimmed, unapologetic girlishness with a cool twist. And now, with the likes of Del Rey showing how such an aesthetic can be worn by the masses, this might just be her biggest chance to shine.
View the full spring 2012 collection from Lady Petrova (ladypetrova.com) at the gallery.