Fashion that doesn’t suck!
Emerging brands – NewGen Supernovas and Experimental Master Blasters
As New York Fashion Week continues apace with celebs like Kim K., Rihanna and Nicki Minaj stealing the headlines, we stop, drop and sniff out some of the coolest disruptors in the game. From Parsons MFA grads and reclusive DIY rogues dwelling deep in Brooklyn, to new bloods Caroline Hu, Neil Grotzinger and Whatever Twentyone, VIVISXN lifts the lid on what’s gestating in NYC’s creative underbelly.
Sam Linder and Kirk Millar originally founded their Lower East Side menswear boutique, Linder, in 2013 before eventually launching their own label. Amidst 90s motifs, goth elements and machine gun digital prints, the pair’s gender neutral, directional collections are imbued with a dash of violence and a dollop of club-kid glamour. VIVISXN’s eyeballs exploded over the silk dress emblazoned with an M-4 and that leather AK-47 ensemble. Great work!
VFILES alum JunJie Yang is a real deal shapeshifter and silhouette inventor. Taking cues from Rei Kawakubo, Ann Demeulemeester and Romain Kremer, the designer showcased a panoply of polymorphic shapes and structures for SS18, presenting a hardcore and hectoring space-age motorbike platoon decked out in pink puffer things and sporty mash-ups. Her work is offbeat, strangely elegant and totally insane.
ØBLANC by designer Olivia Le Blanc focuses on gender fluidity and unisex with an emphasis on sustainability and repurposing garments in the coolest way possible. The resultant ranges are disruptive in both concept and execution, with traditional workwear materials and silhouettes re-calibrated to create a new-age utilitarianism and a hint of futurism.
Knitwear princess Zoe Champion told VIVISXN she dreams of working for Nike, but her skillset fits right in at a couture atelier or artisanal house in Paris or Milan. Her eye-popping opening look — sleek red pants paired with a slouchy fuchsia turtleneck top — was followed by pieces so clever and complex they almost made us hallucinate. One elegant color-blocked coat appeared transparent at the shoulders without losing any of its shape. A pair of navy and neon-striped trousers (worn with matching knitted stilettos) put us in a trance and conjured the sublime. The see through yellow slip dress was overlain with a second boxy purple mini one that looked part couture, part cartoon and made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Whatever Twentyone (W/E 21) is the disruptive anti-fashion brand with mall goth twists and a strong resemblance to all things Hot Topic. Plaid, chains, chokers and heavy metal graphics can all be worn to the brand’s regular interactive cultural soirée, MULTITASK. We love the name and the label’s interpretations of avant-garde goth-glam couture.
Shizhe He explored functional clothing and artfully fabricated menswear that resembled tactical gear. One oversized three-piece suit was splashed with an energetic combo of gold, navy and red. Another all-blue getup was topped with a textured beret that recalled a Parisian bohème poet or a progressive beatnik. We loved the baggy fits and outsized trenches.
Venus Lo’s pimped out and shredded-up workwear was inspired by hoarders. She transformed roughshod denim into cool jumpsuits and outre, industrial-strength thing-a-ma-jigs that came in a palette of beige, blue, white and fucking divine. We love!
Caroline Hu’s gowns are like cubist paintings and non-Euclidean equations. Some of them incorporate enough tulle to dress a girl army, and come in warped geometries and delicate, gravity-defying distortions. “It’s gardens, romance, flowers, and nature,” Caroline said. “Lots of brands have very strong attitudes about girls being tough but I think a woman can also be soft and romantic.”
The show opened with the special project “Hard Soft, Exterior Interior,” featuring 28 looks designed by first year students in collaboration with Swarovski. Neil Grotzinger kept that dazzling theme going strong with an offering of exquisitely embellished menswear comprised of bedazzled mesh bodysuits and jewel-encrusted chokers. Those more subversive looks were offset with classically masculine pieces including tailored pinstripe shirts and silk boxing shorts. Neil also put an inventive spin on a handkerchief-hem shirt dress, which came gaping at the neck and layered with a beaded suede corset top.