Jacopo Bedussi’s
Reviews and Thoughts

SONGZIO AW22


Songzio, Jay Songzio’s Korean brand was founded in Seoul in 1993. It isn’t the first time the brand was presented at Paris Fashion Week; the first time had been in 2006. However, the perception that one can have in Europe is far from the meaning it holds in Korea; over the course of three decades, the brand has defined a native version of the dark aesthetic and traced the path of local menswear, sowing seeds that have produced symbols, together with relevant and contemporary results today.

The presentation video for FW22, entitled Metamorphoses, in which Kim Young-Dae appears – a face well-known to Korean drama fans – aims at making Songzio’s work and his personal use of black an element that is legible to an international audience.
The men and women in the video walk in a natural nocturnal space, which is both neutral and disturbing. It is a rocky and barren environment, visually silent, illuminated by the moonlight. The humans who advance along with it, however, are not afraid. On the contrary, they move confidently as if they were on a road that led them to a mysterious epochal event, perhaps a battlefield, perhaps a new beginning.
They proceed aware and almost brazen, with a clean stride, like warriors in a videogame. 
The clothes are secular-looking attires and uniforms, in which volumes of oriental tradition meet and merge with archetypes of Western elegance and power-dressing.
There are suits and armours, overlapping of contrasting materials, softness and structure, lightness and padding; stratifications from which you can read the meaning of the collection’s title.
Cocoon volumes and deconstructions, cuts that seem to be shaped with a scalpel and military severity. Moments of bright and full colours pierce the continuous black that is the collection’s non-colour of choice, giving rhythm to the succession of looks.

In an era and in a continent where it is difficult to identify outbursts of novelty, in the territory of radical dark, it is refreshing to discover how a different approach, which comes from the East, can brighten and deepen the discourse and intellectual speculation of a theme – that of black – which looked like it had been exhausted. 

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Paris Fashion Week

ANN DEMEULEMEESTER


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.

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VALENTINO


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.”

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LUDOVIC DE SAINT SERNIN


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.

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DOLCE&GABBANA


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eBecause, and whether you love them or hate them this is undeniable, that aesthetics and that way of describing the possibilities of the body, have been invented by them (and just a few others).u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eCertainly, in twenty years things have changed, and it may be that this output is the result of a heterogenesis of ends, but beating them at the game they invented is probably impossible.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eAnd if when younger designers look at the 2000s, when they were children or teenagers, they risk derivative pastiche, for those who were at the height of their creative splendor in those years, the ability to use certain codes continues to be authentic, even now.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA fashion show that then becomes a jubilant appearance of everything that the genZ feels as nostalgia for something they never experienced: Animalier, laces, low-waisted trousers, thongs in sight, boyfriend fits, stones and sequins, tigers and leopards, lace, uncovered navels, underwear worn as dresses, belts with the logo, shiny and glittery skin of statuesque bodies that advance on the catwalk like warrior goddesses.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eMaybe it’s just nostalgia, and maybe today those signs should mean something else, but if it’s nostalgia it is in the best possible version.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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GIORGIO ARMANI


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThen at a certain point, let’s say just after thirty (and ‘Of someone entering his thirtieth year, we will not stop saying that he is young’ as Ingeborg Bachmann said) all of a sudden, as in some sort of generational spell, during idle conversations during aperitivo, things like ‘you know what? In the end, the only jackets I really like are Armani ones’ or, ‘I’m so bored of fashion, I only want to dress Armani head to toe’ started to be told.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eu003cspan style=u0022font-size: inherit;u0022u003eAnd it is not a question of irony and posing as (still young) adults, it is that in those adult volumes at a certain point you want to recognize yourself. Of course, we are talking about a women’s show, but it changes little. In that commitment to remain faithful to oneself without the need to be cool or edgy, there is a great self awareness of Armani as an author and as a designer. There is also the deep understanding that, at some point, sooner or later, we will all find ourselves, if not to buy, at least to understand.u003c/spanu003eu003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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FENDI


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eOr rather, to change fashion as it was the day before yesterday, and to make it that powerful and magnificent thing it was yesterday. Innovative illustrator capable of changing the rules of the game, he lit a fuse that then detonated a whole system. And his story is also an almost fictional story, imbued with the sublime and tragic beauty that emanates only from those who live with contempt for danger—as if death did not exist or at least did not concern him. The Kim Jones and Silvia Venturini Fendi collection pays homage to his work, translating his designs into signs that are spread on the clothes. There is also a double level of interpretation having been Lopez’s partner in crime with Karl Lagerfeld (who was creative director of Fendi until his death) both in terms of parties, and in terms of work. The collection that celebrates him has nothing wrong, but it’s hard to say it respects intent. It is beautiful, it is right, but if the standard was ‘revolutionary’ and ‘visionary’ as Lopez was, then we cannot fail to say that we are faced with something very different here.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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N21


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eHe is not in search of the wow factor. The tools he use are simple and in some ways rather traditional: transparencies, lace, feathers, stones, ruffles. Plus some drifts in American college dress codes with the maxi Paradise print in a university-like font. u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-size: inherit;u0022u003eAnd then there is a lot of skin, and many body spots highlighted without morbidity, with lightness, and perhaps even joy. Hips, torsos, nipples, navels, groins that seem eager to be caressed by some fresh air. Those who wear N21’s clothes are not alluring or sexy bodies, they are rather free, relaxed, confident bodies. Bodies that don’t hide because they have no reason to. Bodies that have solved their torments or perhaps have never had any but which are certainly at peace with themselves and with others.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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MSGM


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eSo, let’s take a walk even if it’s too hot outside, and let’s dress up without any embarrassment about the colours and the prints. Picnics walks, shopping, it doesn’t matter! What matters is being around, meeting people and not being fooled by laziness. Morrissey sang about ‘Spending warm summer days indoors, Writing frightening verse to a buck-toothed girl in Luxembourg’, but those were definitely other times and shyness could be afforded and isolation could be a choice, but after a pandemic, things are very different. So, without overthinking, Giorgetti’s advice is to dress colourfully, lie down in the park and find friends or lovers, drink prosecco and get a little tan and soak up all the sunny days possible.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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KOCHE


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA bit like Norma Desmond just out of the shower still tired from the night before. There is an anteroom atmosphere, a preparation for something. Maybe an event, maybe a party. An unfinished preparation, caught in the happening.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eRosalind Russell and Uptown New York, reflective fabrics, dressing gowns, glamour and transparencies and evening gowns.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eOr maybe an exhausted beauty like coming home after a rave. A state of ecstatic grace and a bit drugged, because there are also disheveled hair and sunglasses, mesh sweaters and very comfortable shorts for dancing until you drop.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThere is that silent and meditative calm just before a hangover takes place, in that moment of transition between an afterparty and the return to the daytime world. All people with whom you would like to have a party anyway.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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YOHJI YAMAMOTO


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA story that has always been post-apocalyptic and made of primitivism, of spirits or children lost and raised on a desert island.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-size: inherit;u0022u003eIt is like attending ancient rituals and observing a world that is about to disappearu003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA world where fashion is a pure sign, even in a graphic sense.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn which fashion speaks only of itself and exists only in the wake of what it has created so far.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt is a fashion that looks inside and doesn’t look outside.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt is very slow fashion and it is able to make you cry.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eSometimes it looks nostalgic and sometimes it looks witty.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA psychotropic rhythm that leads you to lose yourself thinking about things that happened long ago, to make them re-emerge.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA fashion that is also untranslatable, literally lost in translation, and which remains fascinating in its obscurity. In its non-narrative being.u003cbr /u003eu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eWhen a model with a huge skirt snaps into a journalist from the front row and gives him a black fabric flower, we witness a moving gesture. A world that never existed maybe, that has never been possible, but that in a Yamamoto show seems tangible and real. When I started going to fashion shows, I found Yamamoto’s shows annoying because I tried to understand them, now that I have grown up, I can’t wait to go and immerse myself in them.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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Milan Fashion Week

MM6


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA surreal and Fellini-like atmosphere, made up of daydreams also helped by the abundant bières blanches or gin and tonic served to the guests by elegant and smiling waiters. Something that you get immediately used to and that you keep a good memory of (and which hopefully will become the rule for all fashion shows after 6 pm, when buyers and journalists would kill for a drink after a day of wandering)u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn this ecstatic suspension, weirdly dressed humans begin to arrive, between David Bowie and the Wizard of Oz. Looks you could comment aloud between a sandwich and a drink, in what more than a fashion show looks like a pleasant ethyl drift. A meeting of pleasure-seeking surrealists, of joie de vivre, of exquisite corpses in which, as Breton said, the first thing to look for is divertissement.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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PRADA


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe outputs are perfectly synchronized, flawless. And doing such a thing—with 8 time zones in between, and a directorial quality worthy of the inaugural ceremony of the Olympics—is a remarkable demonstration of organizational ability, of structural and corporate strength, in a word: of power (being able to be and to be able to do).u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn this double and identical universe, populated by doppelgangers, a story of sex, seduction and proud walks of shame is staged. There is a bit of bondage in the laces and corsets with splints. Voyeurism in dresses open on the back and in sweaters that underline the breasts.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt could be objected that this is nothing new, indeed, sex is perhaps the great theme of this season, but this is sex à la manière de Miuccia (and Raf), in which (as in the previous collections) the two parts fit together rather than merge. It is always very clear what comes from one and what comes from the other. Maybe it’s that there are designers we are fond of and towards whom we seem to have a deeper understanding, who speak to us. Maybe you need certainties. But without shaking up the course of fashion, it was simply a great show. And then, what beautiful outerwear.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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BLUMARINE


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt is evident that the beginning of the new millennium is very present in this round of fashion shows for SS22. It would be interesting to understand why we find an Arcadian moment in that period and why designers, who were little more than children at the time, also intercept it.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eBlumarine’s new course draws from there for the second time under Nicola Brognano and the (heavy) styling of Lotta Volkova.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt is difficult to say if there are precise references in the show because it is a certain kind of archetypal extraction of those years, and whoever was there can also review their memories. Mine are the Cocoricò Club in Riccione, Paris Hilton, MTV, house music, and the aesthetics of my adolescence that I would soon have escaped with commitment.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe show soundtrack featured the sounds of what I danced to at a very young age in the clubs (but the quality of sound at the show was rather bad). Important thing: until now, I had never seen so many asses and thongs all in the same show. And that was cool. The problem is that the first time Brognano and Volkova did this, it was a lot of fun. Now that the wow effect has disappeared, it isn’t easy to frame what they intended to do. Is it nostalgia? Trash? Or simply praising the early 2000s?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe risk of boredom is very high. Another thing that struck me is that there would have been only gen Z and millennials in London at a show like this. All happy and ironic, and ready to drink those codes distilled by time and then shoot them on TikTok. In Milan, there were mid-age tanned ladies and men in suits, who, back in 2001, had probably stopped going to Cocoricò for quite a while.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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ACT 1


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!

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIf the ruling class listened to chamber music played by a string quartet and wore evening gowns and tuxedos, we would be living in a much better world than this). The choice of the field of action and the prey that needs to be deconstructed is therefore fictional and cinematic and all comes from Antonioni and Patroni Griffi. They then take us to another world which they tear apart with extreme care.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eEverything is questioned and its perverse side is shown: the fin de siècle cultured exoticism of the chinoiserie of suits with t-shirts, ballerina dresses, post-tuxedo men wearing lycra gloves across their arms and latex around their feet. A bit of bondage and a bit of fetish with collars, belts, braids on very long hair that almost look like whips. And also the performative finale with sculpture dresses on wheels that recalled moments from Viktor u0026amp; Rolf, a tender homage rather than naivety. That ingenuity which, in any case, would not have been a mortal sin but only a symptom of sincere love towards the best type of fashion.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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MARCO RAMBALDI


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eRambaldi does not play with the suggestion of possible worlds, he works in a world that exists but, in Italy more than elsewhere, always remains hidden under the layers of what is considered cool, relegated to certain very nightclubs or to certain bedrooms in which younger people can also discover each other and dream and thank god they can fuck too.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA personal point of view that has perhaps never been so political, at least in contemporary fashion. u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe clothes represent a chaotic and domestic, sexual and self-managed syncretism. Inside there are things representing adolescence and that mix of fascination for the elsewhere (whether it be London or Berlin or Seoul it does not matter, big cities are magnetic fields for anyone who is aware of their misalignment with tradition and the mainstream) and a safe space made of grandparents’ memories, provincial towns and sitting rooms where you can watch Raffaella Carrà and Donatella Rettore on CRT TVs, while experiencing amazing epiphanies in the head and in the underwear.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eMarco Rambaldi is needed because he holds the ranks of the LGBTQ+ militancy in a country that either does not know or wants to conceal  but, when it comes down to it, it always seems like we want to be like Americans.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn the stories he tells, there is the only kind of homeland pride that I would ever dare to share; the one of the strangest and the misfits who were heroes and proudly secular saints, in a country still poised between Coca Cola and the Soviets.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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ETRO


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThis ability to understand what happens in the world, however, does not seem to be reflected in the design and collections. And, after the show, a series of questions remain open.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn this post-pandemic period, do we feel the need to attach ourselves to old and familiar images? To cling to the certainties and lightheartedness that we could afford back then?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIs longing for the past a form of escapism and a way to hug yourself in this strange situation?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eMaybe. But with Etro’s clothes, you never even move an inch and you still continue to deal with subjects and themes that could have made sense thirty years ago. But presented today, with such conviction and lightness (and not thinking about their possible problems) those subjects and themes feel completely out of tune, as they have not evolved at all with the times.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eHow do we compare today with the idea of ​​the exotic? Can we still afford to play with the meaning of tribal?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn 2021, can that kind of luxury for the rich and the not-too-post-hippie girls who go to Coachella and travel from resort to resort (perhaps calling themselves digital nomads and citizens of the world in a very white and very privileged new age syncretism) yet again be the deep theme that a brand wants to tell?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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VIDEO BY NICOLA GARZETTI
FOR DUST MAGAZINE

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London Fashion Week

REJINA PYO


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).

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe venue is interesting in itself, between the blue tones of the swimming pools, the smell of chlorine, the concrete platforms reminiscent of formalist sculptures and Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airports’ playing in the background.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eBut that’s not all. Just before the show began, three British national team divers – Emily Martin, Josie Zilling and Robyn Birch – proved their talent, starting with the trampolines and then climbing up platforms, higher and higher, up to ten metres high. Seeing an athlete dive  with grace and control live, from the third floor of a building,  sliding into the water like a knife cutting into butter was an electrifying experience – and a great way to never forget the show that followed.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA fragmented and cosmopolitan collection, made up of many different moments, which flowed as if re-reading a diary of the summer that just ended, like scrolling through the photos of someone’s iPhone gallery.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eBathing moments and memories of happy hours on the beach, wearing colourful shirts and flip-flops. City escapes, immortalised in pictures (all taken by Pyo) that ended up on T-shirts and bags, souvenirs of New York and Seoul. After dinner, dancing on terraced swimming pools. As if in a collection, lies all the nostalgic spirit that seems to come from the video of ‘My Friend’ by Groove Armada, while also being aware that next summer will come soon.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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SUPRIYA LELE SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eWe can be both naked and confident, proud and powerful. Supriya Lele does a slightly different job, she works on a conscious and seductive body with a contemporary twist. A body that’s been freed and is free to be erotic and associated with a word that is ancient and almost forgotten nowadays: sexy.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe garments frame legs, crotches, hips and breasts without fetishistic intent but for the pure pleasure of showing parts of oneself. Within the decorative elements, there is a hedonism typical of the 2000s, that also happens to be quite ubiquitous in this post-pandemic era; mesh and crystals and straps that are pure naivety and adolescent vanity and which here represent a symptom of lightness and the desire to appear, as when we would go clubbing on Sunday afternoons.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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VIDEO BY KSENIA ILINA
FOR DUST MAGAZINE

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CHARLES JEFFREY SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eWhile waiting to enter the initiation ceremony, bizarre characters in druidic and anthropomorphic forms made sure, drinking sacred beers, that we had all followed the rules.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eOnce inside, the show took place in two parts, or rather, in two movements.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe first with clothes that looked like Belgian tailoring perversions from the 90s, homage to Ann Demeulemeester and Helmut Lang, indulging in extreme and sexy minimalism. And then the dark English extravaganza of the 2000s with hints of Gareth Pugh. A story of religion and cassocks, crinolines worn as cloaks, priestesses, waterproof cardinals, black brides and Quakers. u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eUnexpectedly, to take a bow at the end of the show is not Charles Jeffrey but Bradley Sharpe, the next big thing in London’s fashion whose last collection made of techno-Victorian clothes built with camping material is an absolute must-watch.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eWas it therefore a baptism? An acceptance ceremony?u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003e u003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eAt the end of this movement, the portal that gives the collection its title opened and, guided by the same bizarre characters who had welcomed us, we passed into a second room, where the bold London syncretism that’s Jeffrey’s signature finally exploded.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThere were the Horrors (in the sense of the band, but also as in horror movies) and there was tartan, there was the second summer of love and there were raves, there was punk (whatever that word means today after fashion has stripped it down to make it harmless), there were today’s club kidz and there were yesterday’s Blitz Kidz, there was Dalston and there were London’s beautiful scoundrels and misfits of 2021 in attendance. Many looks, perhaps too many to want to be meticulous, with some repeating themselves, but on the other hand in the Sabbath the way to enlightenment lies in excess, superabundance and repetition. The new wave of cool kids that were both in the cast and among the guests then let loose at the following party, which seemed only a continuation of the Sabbath, in a sensory continuum and an ecstatic, sweaty, erotic, alcoholic, lascivious rave. Today, Instagram informed me that Sadiq Khan was also at the aforementioned rave. To me, this experience, instead of a hangover, left a great desire to buy a tartan skirt and to start staying up very late at night again.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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RICHARD QUINN


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’.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eI don’t know how aristocratic the delay is, but only a queen can start a show an hour later without fashion editors and photographers shouting like furious hooligans.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe front row was also aristocratic, with a holy family consisting of Boy George, Kate Moss and Jordan Barrett.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe show, which began on a soundtrack by the band Lebanon Hanover, is a succession of perfect and desperate princesses and scary and grotesque mannequins.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThere are flowers and studs, unbridled luxury and the theatrical restlessness of deformity. There is no longer a distinction between high society ladies who wear couture dresses and toxic and nocturnal performers who investigate the limits of the body and the clothing. Perhaps the point is very simple and ordinary: there is no difference because they are all acting. Perhaps there is also a second layer, where the hypocritical acting is the fashion business itself. Then the homages (so to speak) paid to Balenciaga by Demna Gvasalia for the grotesque part, and Valentino by Pierpaolo Piccioli for the couture part (which was indeed gorgeous) begins to make sense, in a Quinn sort of way.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIt is never completely clear what the queen of London Fashion Week thinks and means, but in the end (who I believe they were), his parents were moved and Alexander McQueen was watching from above. I can’t tell with what expression on his face though.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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FASHION EAST


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eStudents of art and fashion under the age of 25 dressed carefully and with the specific intent of joining up to come here. Between afternoon gin and tonic, and outrageous looks that lie in hyperspace with respect to the boring debate on gender roles that is popular on social media. Able to stand out in the crowd, also thanks to an inimitable experience, Princess Julia acting as godmother. Paradoxically, the front row part was made up of only white journalists and ladies who wanted to tell us how much they appreciate Phoebe Philo’s work. In the end, I felt like a kind of initiate welcomed into the world of the cool kids, at least for the duration of the show. So, thanks to Fashion East for the allocation. Two designers presented in the classic fashion show format. For Chet Lo, a bathing, seaside-y, and somewhat hallucinogenic collection, all puffy and spongy. A little Barbie girl and a riot of joie de vivre. A notable desire for the pool and flip flops to the rhythm of a bizarre techno-calypso sound. Fabrics that become three-dimensional and pointed, and accessories that are sometimes normal and sometimes huge, all things that you want to touch and caress as during certain trips under the influence. Maximilian instead tells a world of clothes cut (wonderfully) with a knife, for very determined and sexy and very vicious villains. Mistresses and dominatrix women. Beautiful girls that are able to kill. Men who are also beautiful and fatal, capable of putting you in awe. And a cyber-erotic ending with a gorgeous dark videogame demon. Maybe I’m getting old, maybe after the party the night before I had a somewhat emotional hangover, but hearing the kids sat next to me cheering on every look for their friends and comrades moved me a bit. Luckily it was dark in the cinema, and no one saw me.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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MOLLY GODDARD SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe effect is both alienating and adorable. It is not clear if the girls, and especially the boys, wear those dresses with a clear revolutionary intent or if they are characters who live in an ethereal world governed by social and aesthetic rules far different from ours. Maybe they live in a childish paradise free of gender(s) and age. But, basically, it doesn’t matter understanding why they do it, it is clear that in those clothes they feel good and comfortable. And beautiful. It is also clear that those clothes have been chosen by them. This collection is not about looking for the little girl that lies within us, but about doing a little more of what we like without caring too much about rules, acting exactly as little girls do.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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KNWLS SS22


‘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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eUnfortunately, technology has not yet reached the point of allowing us to review our memories of teenage outfits… But, if there is desirable revisionism, then it is that of Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eA literal ‘underground’ fashion show, which took place on level -3 of a Mayfair car park. KNWLS responds with creativity, coherence and a fascinating contempt for danger to a question that is already a symptom of a remarkable and sincere desire to tear apart the things we knowu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e—applying u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003ealternative realities to our everyday life.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThere are earthy colours, handbags that look like the Fendi Baguette but worn like fashion weapons, sexy lace closures and leather. The spirit is that of a final battle for the survival of the species.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eNothing sad though… On the contrary, an exciting battle, like a big party where you show up ready for anything, well-dressed to light the city on fire.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe 2000s are also found in the more cowboy looks that bring a post-apocalyptic version of Madonna from the ‘Music’ period. There is no nostalgia and there is no praise for the icons of those past years, indeed, there is the precise intention to tear them apart, and imagine new ones, mixing the aesthetics into new forms. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: les grands-mères ont toujours tort.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cbr /u003eu003cbr /u003eu003c/pu003e
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YUHAN WANG SS22


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”.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe result is women who—in a kind of surreal drift—decide to react by arming themselves, as the title of the collection ‘Juliette has a gun’ points at.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eDresses that come from the most stereotypical cinematic representations of the Old West, with saloon girls, prostitutes who know how to take care of themselves and hints of grandiloquent Victorian rigour. Lace and long skirts, bare shoulders, garters, stockings, romantic prints and gloves made of transparent rouches tulleu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e—u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003ewhich have been seen around a little too often this year, and cause a certain restlessness.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eAnd then the accessories in the shape of a pistol or rifle case. And here perhaps is where the problem lies: what symbolic language are we trying to express? That of escapism? The surreal? The oneiric, or, are we dealing with a real problem hereu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e—u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003egiven the clear references to tragic news events in the press kit, that includes the names and surnames of the victims… Are we giving a surreal answer to a problem that is completely real? Is she really proposing that women should use guns to defend themselves? Shouldn’t men be the ones to stop using violence and should start taking responsibility? Mixing news and abstraction is a difficult and risky exerciseu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e—u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003ean explosive mix to handle. Despite good intentions, sometimes it is wiser to take a step back; we would have had a fun show with beautiful referencesu003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e—u003c/spanu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003ewithout the shadows and screeches that gave a rougher touch to the story.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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TIGER OF SWEDEN SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eContemporary dance is obviously a more-than-respectable art, the problem is us. And myself in particular, who understands absolutely nothing about it.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eFor all I know, I can say that adding contemporary dancers to a fashion show should be made illegal. Period.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eDesigners should consider what they communicate with the choices they make when putting together their shows. Do they want to distract us? Do they believe that fashion does not have enough dignity to be considered cultured without invoking the ​goddess​ Terpsichore? Do they see contemporary dancing as simply a mere decorative element? These are all questions a designer should avoid being asked.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eSaying that I have to admit some rational and neatly cut outfits did look very impressive…u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cbr /u003eu003cbr /u003eu003c/pu003e
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VIVIENNE WESTWOOD SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe decades change but the pirates remain, and if in the 80s they were rebels far from morality and the order of things, and in the 90s lustful and joyful decadent spirits, in the 2020s they become the ultimate bulwark against the collapse of the sheer overproduction of goods.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eIn their anarchic and autonomous micro-communities, world-aware and anti-capitalist, lucid and angry because in love with the only world we have, pirates respect the rule that Westwood has long decided to embrace ‘Buy less, choose well, make it last’.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eAnd therefore between regenerated wool, re-use and upcycling, here, the point is producing fashion with what you have, and Westwood is now a master of this.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eThe inspirations come from her story and from the clothes of John Redfern, an English couturier of the 1800s, in a mix of unbridled, almost archaeological luxury and contemporary awareness.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eToday, Westwood has a mission that more than with clothes, it has to do with a creative campaign on what the fashion system u003c/spanu003eu003ciu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eshouldu003c/spanu003eu003c/iu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e be (in order not to collapse one day under its own weight). And anyone who intends to live in the present can only find themselves thinking about the same issues. That the grand old lady of English fashion does it with such enthusiasm, can only reconfirm her as a guiding light for those interested in understanding that fashion is about clothes only up to a certain point… But to truly understand it, you need to approach it in its three-dimensionality and in its being an economic, industrial and, thank God, human system.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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Video by Edd Carr
Sound by Jack Kennedy
for Dust Magazine

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NENSI DOJAKA SS22


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’.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eBut Dojaka’s women don’t give a damn about men or whoever glances towards them. It is not a position against, but one that goes far beyond it. And, in fact, they are intimidating; it is difficult to imagine speaking to them without shaking or without your armpits dripping with sweat. The more unreachable socio-cultural backgrounds are imagined, the more transparent or non-existent the garments are. Who are these women? Nuclear engineers, at the least. Hedge fund managers. Nanotechnology experts. Silicon unicorns. They exude a phenomenal and merciless evil and, therefore, naturally fascinate. Whoever is so sure of themselves must be magnetic. And it really has nothing to do with sex, if even myself, a thirty-year-old gay who has never doubted for even a second his homosexuality, came out of the show slightly aroused, dreaming of straight submissions and with the desire to get a little trampled. With the knowledge that, in any case, the only one who would enjoy it would be me.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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Video by Ben Cullem Williams
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BORA AKSU SS22


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.

u003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eAn underrated gem from the now-so-distant-yet-so-beautiful year 2007—a year that captured so much of the spirit of the late noughties. Inspired by Ronald Searle’s graphic novels, u003c/spanu003eu003ciu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eSt. Trinian’su003c/spanu003eu003c/iu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003e tells a tale of an only girls high school where a bizarre mix of hippies and anarchists seemed to coexist. All with the help of a conniving and marijuana-lover headmaster, performed by an amazing Rupert Everett in drag. The cast also featured the best of a generation of British actresses and models: Talulah Riley, Tamsin Egerton, Paloma Faith, Lily Cole and Juno Temple, among others. Each look represented a character and those were all pervaded by a gothic but rebellious sense, in a balance between tradition, a certain Victorian gloom, the disfigurement of rules, rebel grimaces and an unbridled desire to have fun.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003enu003cpu003eu003cspan style=u0022font-weight: 400;u0022u003eElements that are also found in Aksus SS22, with clothes that seem to be made by rebellious teenagers who have been locked up in the house as a punishment, and have begun to play, making clothes with what they found scattered around. The flowers from the garden, the grandmother’s doilies, trimmings, old clothes found in wardrobes, rouches, pins, ribbons, scarves and old-fashioned preceptor-like shoes; halfway between the princess disguise and the scarring of tradition. After all, we have all been ‘grounded’ and locked up in the house for the past year and a half. There are those who have been lazing around and those who, like Aksu, have set to produce new versions of themselves, with a know-how that elevates adolescent vitalism towards a tailored quality.u003c/spanu003eu003c/pu003e
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Video by Ben Cullen Williams
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SAUL NASH SS22

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.

u003cpu003eOne of the most frequent acts of oppression between males was carried out precisely in being able to open all the buttons together, leaving the victim in his underwear. In this Saul Nash show, there are no trousers with press buttons along the leg, but the mental and nostalgic space to which it refers is the same.u003cbr /u003eFootball uniforms, t-shirts, polo shirts, nylon tracksuits, everything recalls that period of early adolescence made of knowledge of oneself and of one’s body, in both competitive and sexual form, embarrassments, falling in love, hormones and sweat.u003cbr /u003eFriendships cemented in the locker rooms of the gym or the parish after exhausting football matches between incomprehensible and uncontrollable excitements. After all, that is the age in which you discover what you want, and if you are still shy about achieving it in its entirety, then you focus on aspects of that desire. There is a level of nostalgia and romantic kink in this show, for the friends we loved without knowing it, for our innocence, for those sweaty t-shirts in which we spent more time than we should.u003c/pu003e
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Video by Ben Cullen Williams
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