A-Cold-Wall’s clarion call against nationalism
Finally, a proper radically off-beat, political and artistic statement at a menswear show by A-Cold-Wall, the best conceived event of the three-day London Fashion Week Men’s that ends Monday evening. And, the first clear reference to the dangers of Brexit, from an industry that is overwhelmingly against the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
After a weekend of East London athleisure, A-Cold-Wall packed a powerful punch with this show, staged inside a dark set with two dank pools, through which a series of waifs and lost souls dancers slithered.
Evidently, a reference to the whole treatment of refugees as a threat rather than humanity, they formed the foreground and backdrop of the runway. Along it appeared some great new street-wear from A-Cold-Wall’s designer and founder Samuel Ross.
A finalist in last year’s LVMH Prize, Ross is a great new talent, who manages to fuse street attitude with creative silhouettes and exaggerated ideas.
Like his carved-out felt gray cardigans with color blocks; excellent matelassé pants; a superb boiled wool collarless Austrian jacket done with a black-and-white meter scale; techy raincoats; and first-rate sweatshirts with some great rouching. Using insulated nylons; or clear sheets of acetate woven into fabric for graphic detailing.
Pre-show, guests were requested to walk single-file into the show space at the back of Truman Brewery deep in East London. A sign outside read: “Please note this show includes the participation of dogs. Each dog is highly trained, on a leash held by a qualified handler at all times.”
In the end, just one, rather angry, Doberman made a barking appearance in the far pool, presumably a metaphor of police treatment of refugees at their camps.
“This about bringing back performance art back to the runways in England again. Bringing back the era of McQueen. Not just creating a runway installation piece. So, the pool closest to the audience represents the pool of fear and preservation in the age of nationalism. And the pool further away is the innate human sense of progression. Socially, this generation is really seeing the rise of AI, while on the other hand we see right-wing nationalism and xenophobia in this moment of Brexit. Progression versus sovereignty,” explained Ross in the backstage.
Ross took his bow quietly, proudly holding to his chest his baby daughter Genesis, who celebrated her first birthday on Christmas Day. A potent symbol of hope after a novel fashion moment.
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