Yesterday we saw a series of collections that if we were to tag them, they’d interchangeably get descriptors like these: avant-garde, conceptual, techno, future, minimal, Japanese, uniform, sporty, intellectual.
Fashion is material plus belief. The following collections share a lot in the way of material: leathers and meshes, sturdy ripstops and shiny transparents, kimono and hospital scrub cuts. The belief part is more difficult to describe. That is aesthetic vs. ethic, objective vs. subjective. What do you believe in?
Once upon a time, Helmut Lang was among fashion’s avant-garde. His house was it in the late ’80s and ’90s. These days, Helmut Lang is shredding his fashion archives in the name of art. Lang quit his company in 2005 after selling the remainder of his shares to the Prada Group in 2004. A Japanese company bought it out and relaunched the brand in 2007 under designers Nicole and Michael Colovos. The looks the couple present rehash Lang’s minimal, anti-fashion fashion uniform to commercial profitability. This season marks the return of HL emergency orange. The asiatic print is designed in collaboration with tattoo artist Thomas Hooper.
Designer Telfar Clemens presented his Spring 2013 collection “FORMALE;LIFE” with a fashion film that looks like an early 1990s mens sportswears catalog shoot set in a late 2000s subprime mortgage crisis abandoned prefab home. The clothes—basic scrubs and cargo pants, cut out tanks and other convertible numbers—showed a debt to the real Helmut Lang. For NYFW SS’13, TELFAR also collaborated with artists Lizzie Fitch, Nick Rodrigues, and Ryan Trecartin in the creation of a “multimedia retail experience and installation” entitled SHOP-MOBILE2.0., which will be on view at the Jack Chiles Gallery until September 14th.
Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta are art school kids, recent grads of RISD. This, their second seasoned collection, was put on by the youth supportive Milk Made Fashion Week. The models wore Crocs and socks, ropey wovens, and transparent leather. The presentation came with an intellectual artists statement and was live tweeted by the models who snapped photos of each other tagging them to @ECKHAUS_LATTA. Check it.
(Images cut and collaged, by Rocky Li and Carly Otness/BFAnyc)
Again with the practical open-air footwear and socks. Siki Im’s menswear collection was inspired by a broad, Georgia O’Keefe, and not her not-vagina paintings but her own personal style. The tones were black, white, and dusty. Duster coats and man-skirts hit the ground and flowed behind rigid muscle tanks. It was all very serious but then somehow not, ya know what I mean?
Jen Kao is a New York based, Parsons grad designer. Her brand was founded in 2006 and follows the aesthetic mantra of “easy dramatics.” Whatever. The haiku inspired (yes) collection was consistently pleasing and the shoes were sublime, as in beauty in the face of fear, existential stillness in the face of endangered ankles.
Rag & Bone
Rag & Bone’s blokey designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright like to inject annoying idiosyncrasies into otherwise desirable designs. This time it was hems of lace beneath strong cuts supposedly inspired by the Paris to Dakar off-road motocross races. Sometimes the peek-a-boo femininity worked okay but mostly you wanted to run up and rip the stitching that held those hems in place. Oakley collab sunglasses though, um, yes.