Korean brand Songzio, under the direction of Jay Songzio, the son of brand founder Song Zio, has reached the international market once again with their new collection presented at Paris Fashion Week at the neo-gothic American Cathedral off Champs-Élysées.
In this Spring-Summer 23 collection—Eclipse—Songzio further explores the idea of polarity. Songzio’s vision does not isolate opposites, but rather, creates new possibilities; where opposing forces collide and meld together. This is most evident in the sought-after balance between ‘East’ and ‘West’—already a brand hallmark—which is brought even further in this collection. Traditionally, in ‘Western’ thought, the idea of original order tends to disrupt into chaos; in contrast, in the ‘Eastern’ view, chaos serves as the ground from which order emerges. These opposing perspectives find a new dimension in the medieval reference of orderly chaos portrayed in Dante’s Inferno, where disorder brings its own inherent order and structure. This is the inspiration for this collection, in which traditional Western references meet modern Korean motifs in a peculiar and recurrent balance of colliding opposites. The perennial and the ephemeral collide, as well as spatial and temporal elements. In the same way, other collisions occur, like Bohemian and elegant garments, dark and colorful palettes, and classic and futuristic silhouettes. Each element is intended to face its opposite as in a conceptual eclipse in which the counterparts are not meant to cancel each other out, but instead, find a common ground or harmony against the odds. As in Jay’s Narcissus drawing, featured on the garments with a special technique that combines silkscreen and embroidery, the process of looking at the opposite resembles the one of Narcissus reclining by a pool staring at a beautiful stranger not knowing if he’s staring at his own reflection—not recognizing they are the same thing.
This collection, presented in a dim neo-Gothic Cathedral’s nave contrasted by bright and colorful steel window glasses, shows how Songzio aims to find the code of a complex equilibrium by bringing dualities together, sometimes in bold and subtle ways. The result translates into an enigmatic, yet surprisingly colourful, collection that goes beyond the house’s usual monochrome palette of black, gray, and white and where Songzio’s attention to Western tailoring and couture meets unique curves and silhouettes derived from Korean methods of pattern making.
This mix is also present in the cocoon parachutes and bombers, which combine Eastern garment patterns and silhouettes with Western technical details and fabrics, along with the footwear inspired by “gomusin”—traditional Korean shoes mostly worn throughout the 20th century—or the sneakers created conjoining Eastern and Western aesthetics.
Presenting this collection at their show in Paris marks the return of the brand after the pandemic, representing a step forward. Jay Songzio, the brand’s creative director since 2017, plans to open a studio with its first international boutique later this year in Paris—the city where his father was educated, and the brand was launched simultaneously in Seoul in 1993.
As the new Spring-Summer 23 collection seeks a winning equilibrium of distant elements in design and storytelling, so the brand is willing to do so strategically for its near future.
This second season of Ann Demeulemeester’s new course, with an anonymous new creative team, is a consistent continuation of the last one. Slouchy silhouettes and that androgyny born in an era in which gender fluidity was still a novel concept. There are poètes maudits, there is Patti Smith and also all the paraphernalia that over the years has made the brand unique and so recognizable.
Vests and hats, and a way for men and women to always be a little extraneous to things, a little suspended, as are the artists in the romantic version in which some like to bask. There are the writings that say Aimer c’est agir (To love is to act) written in Ann Demeulemeester’s own handwriting, and dark flowers tucked into the back pockets of jeans. A mix of yearning and adolescence. There is nothing wrong, but perhaps an underlying story is missing, a story that feels new but is still nonetheless consistent with the past. A story that gives three-dimensionality to clothes because we know that fashion has little or nothing to do with clothes.
Inside and outside because the inside is outside. And then at a certain point, Love is a Stranger by Eurythmics with Annie Lennox singing “And I want you / And I want you / And I want you so / It’s an obsession”. Strangers and love that bloom on the street. Humans walking with their heads held high, towards the sun of the future, or the end of the world.
Perhaps the end of the world is the ultimate party, the one in which everyone can play, be themselves with nothing to lose. Sometimes dark shades appear. Everywhere there is the rare sense of balance that Piccioli knows how to handle like no other. In the re-proposition of the signs that arrive from the Valentino archive, temporal overlaps are created. They become canvases for new meanings.
This is the choice to go out on the street, to enjoy the beautiful or ugly world, but it is the only one that we have. In this choice, there is no self-satisfaction, lyricism or drama. It is the spontaneous and effortless choice of youth, it is literally the only possible choice. Get dressed, let’s go out!
All together at the same party, priestesses and go-go boys, people in pyjamas, even the punk friend and the one who always listens to Joy Division. And how beautiful it is to be there all together, on the street, at night, that you want to be one of them or that one of them is at least a friend of yours. You feel like saying “yes, you are right and we were wrong, we have always been wrong, we move away and you take over because you seem much better.”
Ludovic de Saint Sernin talks about sex with a proud and appreciable defiance and ruthlessness. Appreciable at least for me, because I love sex. And he has been doing it for a long time now, ever since talking about sex in the fashion system seemed out of time and out of place.
He talks about sex in the most literal ways possible; the soundtrack of the show was Closer by Nine Inch Nails—“I wanna fuck you like an animal / I wanna feel you from the inside / I wanna fuck you like an animal”.
And the garments, ranging from underwear that would defy Instagram censorship, to more structured garments that always seem to be there to be taken off (if not really ripped off with the precise intent of fucking) are so arousing that there must’ve been several erections in the front row…
So far so good, but the thing that causes some doubt is the casting choice. A parade of perfect bodies, so perfect they seem fake. Men and women who are desirable because they are so far from any normality. A world of genetically privileged super-humans who are representatives of a desirable sexual positivity; but who in terms of body positivity seem to belong to another decade or another universe. If intersectionality is a goal we should all aim for, unfortunately, we are still a long way off.
Sometimes it happens to be in the right place at the right time, and while someone had to make interstellar travel to get there, you were simply already there. In this season, in which cheeky sexuality and the seduction of the body have returned to be themes to think about and work on (and in which the 90s fin de siècle at the turn of the 2000s were undoubtedly the aesthetic universe of reference) Dolce and Gabbana found themeselves swimming in waters they know perhaps better than anyone else.
Those of my generation (the millennials) didn’t even watch Armani shows. It wasn’t that there was anything against Armani, it just seemed like a world we had nothing to do with. And while not caring about what Armani did, we slipped in über-skinny jeans from some fast fashion brand dreaming of Hedi Slimane’s Dior Homme.
Antonio Lopez was a fundamental and now almost forgotten figure (to whom, however, a saving exhibition was fortunately dedicated to the Sozzani Foundation in Milan in 2020) who contributed together with many other fundamental and forgotten figures that made fashion what it is today.
Can we talk about gender and sexual liberation without using the tone of political statements but with a sort of poetic softness that does not detract from the impact of this powerful and important message? According to Alessandro Dell’Acqua, yes, and he does it effortlessly and without pointless extravagance.
Massimo Giorgetti seems to really want to hang around. As in, to stay outdoors, and as far as possible from the sofa. How can you blame him, after all? That’s all we’ve found to be essential in this shit time. It may seem a bit basic but perhaps it’s simply true.
A sort of before-and.after party is staged at Koché. Boys and girls like divas of the Golden Age of Hollywood, between sequins and feathers and heeled slippers. But they don’t seem so convinced of the night that awaits them. This lack of fomo makes them very cool.
Each Yamamoto show is an eternal repetition of the same, an exercise in Zen Buddhism.The selective interest of the same-but-different is a sort of entirely personal and self-referential obsession, in the best possible sense.
A cheerful parade, such a strange thing, and such a beautiful thing! Sitting at the outdoor tables of La Belle Aurore, a classic Milanese restaurant that, however, looks like a Parisian or Belgian bistro if we want to see it as a tribute to the brand and its founder.
In my opinion the best collection since Raf Simons joined Prada. Period. One thing that’s not directly connected to clothes, and that may seem secondary… But, if you think about it, it is not at all the quality of the streaming of the show, in which both fashion shows in Milan and Shanghai appear live on the screen at the same time.
I already mentioned the video of My Friend by Groove Armada for Rejina Pyo’s London show, and I swear it’s not my laziness that doesn’t let me find other references. Still, even in this Blumarine show, those looks reappear, much more precise and detailed, almost reproduced.
Good good good! With this collection, Galib Gassanoff and Luca Lin position themselves in that liminal space between the fascination and mockery of the rules and codes of the upper class. It is an intellectual and authorial exercise because the two are well aware that what they identify as the dominant disposition (as in Foucault ndr), a structure made up of signs and registers of power, this belongs to a little past world (Fogazzaro ndr) that ceased to exist decades ago (I wish that was considered the mainstream!
Marco Rambaldi is needed. And there is a need for Marco Rambaldi in particular in Milan, wherein perhaps in no other fashion capital there is still a sense of decorum and respectability that permeates the collective vision and that traditionally states very clearly what is acceptable to do in public and what is better to keep private.
It is undoubtedly a good period for Etro which, thanks to an excellent way of communicating, has managed to obtain wide and persistent visibility on social networks and among the right influencers. Also dressing Maneskin – probably the Italian band that has had the greatest worldwide success ever – was an undoubted masterstroke.
How do you organise an amazing show without Gucci or Balenciaga’s budgets? Rejina Pyo’s answer is precise and simple: she offers the audience something they (most likely) have never seen before. No sooner said than done. The designer’s show took place in the London Aquatics Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, the one where Tom Daley and the whole English national team train (and we wonder why diving is the gays’ favourite sport).
In London, sex is (finally) fashionable (Aharon Sharon?). Sex has finally been showacased in collections created by women for women. Hurray! In the past, rather than sex, it would have been a matter of asking oneself about the role of the body and about creating clothes that did not cover it, but now it is rather showing that nudity is not synonymous with weakness.
There were very specific rules to be respected in order to access the Charles Jeffrey show. Six rules to be precise, which are worth reporting here:1. Abstain from sex for at least 12 hours. The portal demands self-control.2. Stay wakeful and refuse sleep during this time. The portal demands deprivation.3. Leave all emotional baggage at the door. The portal demands an offering.4. Speak to no one in the hour immediately preceding the rite.5. Bathe thoroughly and liberally before arrival. The portal demands good astral hygiene.6. Don the appropriate ritual gaudery. The portal demands an effort.
If Charles Jeffrey is both a laugh and a blaze, Richard Quinn is the aristocracy of extravaganza. It’s maybe because of his family name, which is very suitable for puns that include the word Queen, such as on the complimentary whiskey for the guests bearing the words ‘Salute the Quinn’.
When I found out I was supposed to watch the show from a movie theatre adjacent to the actual show, I was disappointed. I thought it was the place where they seat the losers. I was wrong. In the ICA cinema, there was, perhaps, the coolest fashion crowd I’ve ever seen at a show.
Instead of ‘We should all be feminists’, Goddard says that we should all be (baby) girls. And I totally agree. These oversized baby dresses worn indiscriminately by men and women is obviously a political statement. Yet, light-years ahead from the preponderant tone of the US ‘woke’ militancy.
‘How would Carrie Bradshaw dress if, instead of New York, she lived in the dystopian world of Mad Max?’. If there was an über-cool 2000s metaverse, my high school classmates would have dressed exactly like in this KNWLS show.
A fun show with very precise and legible aesthetic references. This can be considered a very good overall result. However, there is a serious story behind it all: the femicide of Sarah Everard, and the consequent words of the Labour MP Jess Phillips, who declared: “Killed women are not vanishingly rare, killed women are common”.
There is an unwritten rule amongst those who take part in fashion shows: when you see performers walk down the catwalk in a suit barefoot, the best thing to do is to get up (without drawing too much attention to yourself) and run away as quickly as possible.
Vivienne Westwood has a thing for pirates since basically forever. The first collection presented on a catwalk in 1981 was titled Pirates and since then became a fundamental example of postmodernism. It was also the show that created the look of Adam Ant and of a whole London club scene of the period (but that’s another story). The fashion show for spring summer ‘98 entitled, Tied to the mast was also inspired by pirates’ aesthetics and mythology. And it is precisely from there that this new collection takes its cues.
That’s where sex had ended up! Well, actually, this is not sex because there is no attempt to seduce or anything really sexy in Nensi Dojaka first show. However, the 2021 winner of the LVMH Prize presented a collection in which the total awareness of the body and the declaration that this body is not afraid to be deployed, is a crucial factor. In the 90s, (from which a lot of Dojaka’s aesthetic inspiration derives: Belgians and Helmut Lang, Japanese geometric patterns, pyrotechnic corsetry), it was said that ‘strong women should scare men’.
I don’t think it was intended… It must have been the gorgeous garden just off Pall Mall where Bora Aksu’s SS22 show took place. Full of lush flowers and attended by your typical London fashion crowd; the type that never shy away from excess, and always welcome a bit of punk… But, the first thing that came to my mind when Aksu’s show started was the masterpiece that is the film St. Trinian’s.
If I had to choose a piece of clothing that perfectly represents middle school for those of my generation, I would have no doubts: the Champion nylon trousers with press buttons along the sides. We all had them and wore them practically every day, along with Nike sneakers and any old t-shirt.