Standing on the shoulders of giants; a look at the artists old and new that appeared throughout the menswear collections
While mottoes and textures were the theme that permeated the London collections, in Paris and Milan there were more than a few designers who incorporated their favourite artists into their shows. From William Blake to Roger Ballen, we look at some of our favourite artistic inclusions in A/W15's menswear.
Comme des Garcons (above)
South African photographer Roger Ballen’s intensely creepy charcoal drawings were etched onto the backs of white coats at Comme des Garcons, while multi-disciplinary tattoo artist Joseph Ari Aloi (aka JK5) designed the second skins worn by models to imitate sleeves of tattoos – a motif that extended into the fabrics. Not since the early 90s has graffiti scrawl looked so current; as ever, Rei Kawakubo combined disparate references for a collection that appeared deeply unified and considered.
Jun Takahashi applied William Blake's illustrations onto slippers, jackets and jumpers as part of a collection that combined the traditional with the new – iPhone 6 pockets were even built in to some of the pieces, allowing your wardrobe to become wearable tech. The blend of David Bowie, the Romantics and hyper-modern streetwear was a little bit spooky paired with a lot of cool; plus, it'll make the ideal gift for the poetry/fashion/technology aficionado in your life (we’ve all got one).
The Suprematist movement inspired the sparse embellishments incorporated into Rick Owens’ collection, the shapes appearing on t-shirts an explicit tribute to their abstraction and obsession with geometry. And it might be their devotion to “the supremacy of pure artistic feeling” and aggressively avant-garde approach which makes them a great match for Rick – but they also look pretty good on a t-shirt.
At Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with Australian artist Esther Stewart for a collection “inspired by moments of non-conformist artistic movements.” Stewart's colour-block designs appeared not only through the clothing but also through the showspace at Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, where the carpets were correspondingly geometric.
Kim Jones’ homage to Christopher Nemeth saw the A/W15 collection emblazoned and embossed with rope prints. Reviving the culture of London’s 80s club kid scene (of which Nemeth was a staple – he founded House of Beauty & Culture with Mark Lebon, Judy Blame and John Moore), Jones reminded the fashion world that we owe testament to an oft-forgotten generation of artistry and design, and paid a fantastic tribute to the culture he adores.
Words by Olivia Singer