My personal interpretation of the SONGZIO muse was that of a young man with the history and reputation of an old family behind him desperately seeking to carve his own way in a rapidly changing world. One look featured a half-formed, long trench coat, which the model seemed to be shrugging off to reveal an artist’s kimono-style jacket beneath, scorched with bleach stains, as if struggling to both conceal and reveal a new identity, at odds with his heritage. Half-present formal attire seemed to be a motif through the collection, appearing in pinstripe suits, velvet blazers worn with casual joggers, and paint-splattered jodhpurs – all the trappings of aristocracy beginning to degenerate with a distinctly English dilapidated grandeur. The collection, comprised of a mostly neutral palette, was punctuated with a starling orange at intervals, which provided this rather cynical take on the decline of English gentry with a flavour of optimism – of regeneration after decline.
Once again, there was cogency in what I viewed today, similar to the progression I sensed between YMC and Tourne de Transmission. Belstaff kept to its iconic roots by offering up a very English, yet completely modern take on luxury wear. This was SONGZIO’s young man, but, at last, he found and accepted his new identity, forging an individual place in the world. The male and female models seemed strong and knowing, having overcome the naivety and innocence that pervaded SONGZIO´s collection. The fragile SONGZIO boys had not yet fully relinquished their trappings of grandeur – bomber jackets and artist jackets worn almost apologetically with velvet, three-piece suits, and jodhpurs. However, the Belstaff youths sported crackled biker jackets, shearling aviators, nylon parkers, tattoo motifs, and ironically-military coats with a defiant spirit, complete with teddy-boy hair, fresh from the post-Second World War youth enlightenment of the '60s. The collection celebrated a coming of age, both on an individual scale, and for an entire generation.
This parade through a very English story of decline and rebirth was brutally interrupted by Michiko Koshino’s presentation. Models stood atop amplifiers, gazing down on the audience – a rather unusual display for a presentation. The overall atmosphere was that of a dystopian pop-culture, inspired by Japanese comics; the silhouettes of the outfits evoked “cartoon animals,” with inflated hoods and jackets and contrasted piping – like the stark outlines of cartoon drawings. One model even sported black-out contact lenses, where the whites of his eyes were entirely obscured. Along with his extensive tattooing, including facial tattoos, and the hyper-real clothing, he became grotesquely fascinating, repulsive, yet attractive. Koshino’s collection was certainly thought-provoking in that it was not an exhibition of beauty, but rather an exploration of ugliness.
See: LFWM AW17 by MRSCMILLO -->
Words: Flora Walsh
Copy edited by Elena Stanciu