Nensi Dojaka creates a capsule collection for Alessandro Dell’Acqua
Nensi Dojaka has been thrust in the limelight, after being awarded on Tuesday the prestigious LVMH Prize for 2021. The young London-based, Albanian-born designer was recently picked by Alessandro Dell’Acqua, creative director of Italian luxury label N°21, to design a capsule collection.
The collection will be released alongside a mini-collection designed by Alfredo Cortese, founder of the AC9 label; another emerging talent.
“I’m pleased to announce a new collaboration that, for the first time, will feature two talented young designers. I have asked [them] to reinterpret the codes of N°21, having recently concluded a mentorship programme with [N°21] in partnership with Tomorrow,” said Dell’Acqua in a press release. Last year, Dell’Acqua’s ready-to-wear label teamed up with commercial development and multi-service agency Tomorrow London, which will look after N°21’s distribution and with which the label has launched an initiative to promote emerging designers.
Dojaka and Cortese were selected for the project in September 2020. They have benefited from N°21’s creative support, and were mentored by Tomorrow on commercial planning, production development, marketing and distribution. The programme devised for them culminated with their two mini-collections for Spring/Summer 2022. Dojaka designed eight looks strictly in black, while Cortese created a selection of flesh-coloured knitwear.
It is easy to see why the 28-year-old Albanian, with her skin-tight dresses and fitted petticoats, her asymmetric graphic patterns and deconstructed silhouettes, managed to win over Dell’Acqua, himself a proponent of a super-sensual aesthetic.
Indeed, there are affinities between the two designers’ styles, as underlined by Dojaka, whose sharp, ultra-feminine silhouettes are characterised by sheer effects, strategically placed slits and playful ribbons, injecting a spark of energy into her delicate creations. “I have always dreamed of collaborating with Alessandro, because from early on he has been a major source of inspiration for me,” said Dojaka, acknowledging she is also influenced by the work of Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester.
Dojaka launched her high-end women's ready-to-wear label in 2017, straight after earning her London College of Fashion degree, fuelled only by her passion for couture. She then continued her formal education at Central Saint Martins, and was persuaded to continue with her project in the wake of its initial success. She began to sell her clothes right after graduation, introducing a capsule collection on Ssense.com.
Little by little, she attracted the attention of other retailers - there are now about 30 of them, including Mytheresa and MatchesFashion - and of a number of celebrities, especially models and actresses like Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski and Adwoa Aboah, all of them seen wearing Nensi Dojaka. One of Dojaka’s dresses even made Lyst's top-10 ranking of the most popular womenswear items in Q1 2021.
Dojaka’s adventure continues. On September 17, she will stage her first in-person show at London Fashion Week, after she took part in early 2020 in the shows organised by Fashion East, LFW’s support programme for emerging designers. With the €300,000 she pocketed by winning the LVMH Prize, and a one-year mentorship within the French luxury group, Dojaka is holding all the right cards to boost her career and prove her talent.
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