Amiri and Ambush among bright new names at Paris Men's Fashion Week
Amiri and Ambush. The two bright new labels, on show at the Paris Men's Fashion Week, are as far away from each other as California and Japan, geographically speaking. Yet both draw some of their inspiration from pop music, and both made an impression by staging sophisticated maiden shows for their Autumn/Winter 2018-19 collections.
Mike Amiri's show was steeped in a dark, Goth-like atmosphere, the setting featuring Persian rugs, big bouquets of white flowers and hundreds of candles. The dark silhouette of the bass guitarist of Nashville band Goth Babe, playing live at the event, rippled on the walls. Wearing chain-draped cowboy boots or studded sneakers, the models flaunted a rocker-from-hell look, with ultra-tight leather trousers or slashed jeans decorated with embroidered snakes, loose-fitting, large-striped sweaters and pullovers or biker jackets, one of which was in green python skin.
The collection had both a rock 'n' roll and a glam feel, each item jazzed up with a glittering detail. A leopard-print leather overcoat sparkled with a golden shimmer; a biker jacket sported metallic fringes on the back and shoulders; the lapels of a red dinner jacket were covered in silvery thread; and pair of ash-coloured jeans is sprinkled with glitter dust. As for the girls, they wore scarves and knee-high boots in sparkling silver.
The collection was inspired by Joel Schumacher's movie 'The Lost Boys', and includes a series of t-shirts with a printed portrait of Kiefer Sutherland as a vampire. After studying law, Mike Amiri, 41, went for fashion and began by designing jeans. He then worked for pop bands, for which he created special stage costumes, until he launched his own label, Amiri, in 2014.
The label, with its upmarket positioning and uber-Californian mood, immediately caught the attention of a number of buyers. It is now available at 150 retailers, including US department stores, where it sits alongside the likes of Givenchy, Balmain and even Saint Laurent. In Paris, it is sold at the Montaigne Market and L’Espionne stores.
"We started out very small, then grew judiciously. What people appreciate is that each piece has a soul, sometimes they have little imperfections, as the garments are made in Los Angeles, except for leather goods and footwear, which are made in Italy. The USA account for 40% of our global sales," the increasingly successful designer told FashionNetwork.com.
Up-and-coming Japanese label Ambush works on an entirely different register. A finalist at the LVMH Prize 2017, Ambush presented a unisex streetwear collection inspired by various sub-cultures and the world of contemporary music, especially hip-hop, punk and reggae. The label, born in 2008 with a jewellery collection, was created jointly by influential Japanese DJ, musician and producer Verbal, 43, and Korean designer Yoon Ahn, 40, who grew up in Seattle.
To add a special touch to Verbal's stage outfits, Yoon created impressive gold and silver jewellery, which was a hit both with the US hip-hop crowd and the novelty-hungry Tokyo set. The label went from strength to strength and launched an apparel collection in 2016.
"It's a very organic label, it's grown with us. It started out as a game, we were making items for friends, then we expanded very fast. Everything is made in Japan. The fact we are from Tokyo is one reason for our success, because we're seen as being a very cool label," said Verbal at the Paris show, which featured gloomy-looking models seemingly lost in a haze-filled basement.
The Ambush wardrobe was made of layered outfits, with shirts and long tunics, of unstructured jackets, and pyjama sets mixed with streetwear items such as tracksuit bottoms and sweatshirts. This season, the collection was big on raincoats and hats, a throwback to the rainy Seattle winters of Yoon Ahn's childhood, and was distinctive for its cool, youthful mood, the stuff of cosmopolitan Millennials.
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