The anatomical dissection that has distinguished Samuel Ross from other big streetwear has been precise, colorful, aesthetic
The new year has just begun and fashion never remains behind, but always looks ahead. To postpone the return to the office we thought the London Fashion Week Men’s, which last Saturday shed light on trends and collections that will dominate the next winter season.
The English capital is renowned for its innovation and experimentation and, once again, the curatorial aspect of the various presentations has left us speechless.
From the models that run between ceramic urinals covered with moss, to the clones and cyborgs that Xander Zhou presented to us, certainly the capital’s designers know how to talk about themselves! But, apart from the scenery, what we saw on the catwalks partially confirms the trends we had announced for 2019, revisiting the classics of the male wardrobe (such as the complete jacket-pants or leather jacket) and suggesting that we play more and more with the accessories, which give the final touch become protagonists.
In a total black space at Brick Lane, on a catwalk almost five meters from the front row, the A-Cold-Wall * conceptual show blends seams, welds and portholes on sports-inspired garments in materials from wool to nylon.
The idea is of a dystopian future, thanks to the electronic and dissonant soundtrack as in a control tower. On one side of the catwalk, three black performers crawl into a pool of water.
Samuel Ross is a fashion polymath, a man with great imagination, energy and time to design a complex collection of clothing and accessories, to conceptualize an equally complex presentation for his creation, and to compose an elaborate electronic soundtrack to underline the whole thing. And then he was able to talk about the bottom line: production capacity, expected growth, price point, significant contraction of the logo, reflecting a sophisticated sensitivity to the evolution of the A-Cold-Wall * .
“How can I talk to a fashion consumer while keeping my main cult involved?” Ross wondered. In fact, he was so good at defining the business that struck me as something extremely obvious. In his own words, “the collection exists alongside the performance art.” Or, in someone else’s words, you can not have one without the other. As the company grows, so does Ross’s desire to contextualize what he does, giving him the deepest meaning possible. For a designer as distressing as he is, such hunger is a bare necessity. But it is a delicate balance.
Ross said he worked for six months on the performance aspect of his last show. It opened on three figures huddled in darkness at one end of a rectangle of dark water. As they laboriously lifted to a raft at the opposite end of the rectangle, the collection was paraded on an adjoining gangplank by models that glanced nervously backwards, as if they had been pursued. Shadows thickened, guard dogs barked.
I was reminded of the frightening installation by Anne Imhof in the German pavilion of the last Venice Biennale. Ross had not heard of Imhof, but there was clearly a zeitgeistig that something was going on. The dark water, the dobermans, the primordial fear.
“The basic fear of what comes next, how it sounds and how it looks”, read the present. Political turmoil, the rise of populism, xenophobia – all echoed in Ross’s staging.
Samuel Ross, originally from Brixton, for his brand mixes in a sophisticated manner working class suits, technical sportswear, conceptual details and intelligent volumes. Former assistant to Virgil Abloh and finalist at the ‘Prix LVMH’, he is the designer to keep an eye on because he seems to be destined for great things.