Monday, June 17, 2013

BEAUTY: Clothing--KTZ

For London Collections: Men, KTZ (Kokon To Zai) presented quite a provocative Spring-Summer '14 collection. Marjan Pejoski (Creative Director of KTZ) and Koji Maruyama (Head of Design) looked to North Africa and the Middle East for inspiration. Decorated with silver buckles emblazoned with the word "TERROR," models sported white, black, or sand-colored ensembles based on traditional North African and Arab clothing such as the djellaba. Touches like masks and scarves traditionally protect from sand storms, sun exposure, and wind burn. And fantastic, massive accessories riffing on Bedouin jewelry adorned fingers and hung from necks and wrists. These exaggerated pieces feature traditional shapes seen in classic silver Bedouin jewelry such as domes, spheres, amulet cases, hanging bells, and geometric forms. In fact, KTZ blew these shapes up and applied them, in very large format, to outfits toward the end of the collection. The effect is quite startling. And in a stroke of brilliance, Pejoski and Maruyama used the domes and minarets from the jewelry to form "spikes" in some "punk" inspired clothing. Also of note is a segue into a great French Foreign Legion-inspired moment with more sporty pieces covered in beautiful cartography from antiquity.

Despite their effort to connect "TERROR" with North Africa and the Arab world (it should be noted that this connection is not really a stretch to anyone with a head), the collection actually feels rather true to the region and culture which inspired it. On the surface, it might seem inflammatory but upon closer inspection, one sees the authenticity mixed with optimism in the form of a pattern of the flags of the nations of the world. A few incongruous elements stick out, such as the Eastern yin-yang symbol, and a baseball-djellaba apparently from a team called "POISON." These are just quirky asides; for the greater part, it is a remarkable, fun, interesting collection.

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