Thursday, January 9, 2014

BEAUTY: Clothing--MAN

At any one time, MAN Studio supports a trio of young and emerging designers for three seasons--and then kicks them out of the nest, so to speak. For Fall Winter '14-'15, we have returning to the runway Alan Taylor, Bobby Abley, and Craig Green who gets kicked out of the nest with this, his final collection.

Let's look at the runway show and you can see how strikingly different designers visions can be.

Wearing one of Alan Taylor's voluminous suits must be like wrapping oneself in a gigantic wool blanket. I love the unusual cut of these suits (a hallmark of his work so far), and especially the notched hem detail on the coats. The Matisse-inspired cutouts of a dancing figure add a crisp, modern touch.

Bobby Abley once again aims to scare the crap out of us. He is honestly enamored of all things Disney, but he always pulls the naiveté of the cartoon world into the real world, juxtaposing it with the end of innocence and childhood. I suppose it happens to every child, and perhaps we are all still a little shell shocked from the transition to adulthood. Indeed, in this Fall Winter '14-'15 collection, Abley seems to liken adulthood to a horrible nightmare. With young men sporting widow's peaks and silver mouthguards forcing the models' mouths into a silent scream or vicious growl, he references Hannibal Lecter. With the word "BRAINS" in the classic Disney font, I am reminded of Lecter cooking a piece of Ray Liotta's vivisected brain in the second film installation of the Lecter saga. A gruesome, horrific moment. And Abley plays with it. Along with the pink mohair, iconic Mickey Mouse eyes and ears, and stuffed animals, Abley gives us barbed wire, caps adorned with Maleficent horns (the witch from "Sleeping Beauty"), and images of her familiar, a raven named Diablo. With tee shirts and pullovers in the final looks of his collection proclaiming "R.I.P." and "Dream On," again in the classic Disney font (I don't know how Bobby Abley hasn't yet been sued by Disney), it's clear that childhood does and will end for us all...

Craig Green's farewell collection was full of grace, solemnity, and quiet beauty. Resembling fashionable Shinto shinshoku (priests) or itinerant Buddhist monks, Green's models wore skull caps, black floppy versions of woven straw hats, and flowing vestments with a sense of reverence. Looks alternated between ascetic black and intricate, mandala-like prints. A backpack accessory with extremely long straps topped off the allusion to Shinto priests. It is a strikingly beautiful collection, and we wish Craig Green continued success. Let's hope he gives us more to see, more to admire, and more to be inspired by.

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