An exposition of inner strength set in the rawness and uniqueness of rural Senegal, Ground Zero’s concept piece is an unsettling exposition of tensions between the natural and human worlds. The models seem exceptionally small against the backdrops of expansive desert, stone pits and lagoons, and yet their presence equally fills and dominates the space. The ensembles themselves expand on this contention. A visceral energy pulsates throughout the piece with the models’ infrequent movement belying an internal strength.

The structural, urban tailoring and aggressive street wear jars both with the primal setting and the tumbling, chaotic earrings. Texture plays an important part in the tensions of the work. Unctuous velour is set off against rugged hewn stone, houndstooth jackets against sparse shrub and draped silk against a velvet black sky. This stark contrast contributes to the surrealism of the film – nothing seems quite in place and yet no mark of beauty is lost in this absurdity.

The striking feature of this work, however, comes from the colours and textures of both the clothes and the surrounding scenery. A shock of brilliant neon punctuates each frame in a way that attracts, yet confuses the eye. It simultaneously creates a greater sense of cohesion and continuity between the disparate shots whilst disrupting the otherwise earthbound palette. In many of the scenes, the colours of the clothing reflect the surroundings, so departures from the tonal correspondence between fabric and nature are all the more startling.

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The outstanding shot is set by the lagoon. The model wears an asymmetric blue and white striped shirt and stands, dimly lit, before a burnished sky. There is a huge amount of ambiguity in the shot from the model’s gesture of pointing directly down the camera’s lens – are we, as the viewer, being accused or beckoned? The lighting is such that the model´s features are difficult to distinguish, while the shirt seems illuminated. Is the focal point the clothing or the shimmering sky? Or are they both of equal importance to the composition of the piece? It is a beautifully balanced, yet unsettling image, with the power to haunt long after it has been seen.

In all, this is a captivating piece of filmography, depicting the areas of tension and cohesion between nature and man through texture, style and, above all, colour. The focal point of each of Ground Zero´s FW16’s ensembles was the waste, which gave the looks, although still conceptual and structural, a more feminine silhouette. This year, the collection is far more striking, even savage in its form, with little to no adherence to the traditional female body. The piece extends the vision behind the Ground Zero ethos and aesthetic where “a good design house should be built on a solid foundation.”

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The strong movements and combative stances of the models literally convey the sense of sturdiness and immovability, both the nature of the clothes and their juxtaposition against the surrounding scenery express the innovation and constant progression of the brand. It could, then, be argued that the brand has seen a significant evolution from their collection this time last year.

Words: Flora Walsh

Copy edited by Elena Stanciu