Well, that art on souvenir print shirts formed the Save the planet earth day shirt and I will buy this main plank of what’s certain to be a hit collection. The riffing colors of the Dean print—on a djellaba-like shirt, a purple tree, sky blue; and on a long cagoule, a desert orange, weird outcrops, and purple haze inspired a series of other jungly prints and fantasy embroideries. One jacket had a huge red dragon wrapped around it. The dragon was embroidered onto the back of a hoodie. The great thing about Piccioli’s collection is that you didn’t feel him reaching for “inspiration,” projecting himself onto another generation, or noodling on about the good old days of alternative rock as middle-aged men are wont, given half a chance. The fact is that he’s a down-to-earth modern guy who simply enjoys life and uses his talent to give men of whatever age access to an easy Italian lifestyle aesthetic. There was nothing in the collection one couldn’t imagine him wearing himself, either at Valentino HQ in Rome (the techno-cotton pieces in tobacco, khaki, blue) or in his family life-affirming summer Instagram posts, where he’ll be seen relaxing at the seaside in necklaces and caftans and making them look cool. Escapism in fashion can sometimes lead to dubious and dark places. Not so, with Piccioli, whose positivism is inclusive the diverse casting he’s brought to his women’s shows carried through to men and comes from lived experience. So, yes: shine on, Piccioli. Over the telephone from Los Angeles Ben Taverniti and his wife, Joyce, have a 3-month-old baby to tend to, so fair enough the Unravel designer said that his twin-pole identity as a Paris-raised, California-residing designer is what most shapes his work. For this collection, he was contemplating the common thread of brutalist architecture in both cities. “So I wanted to strip down the collection, to be austere and rough. you know, we are in an environment in fashion today where we are surrounded by so much information, so much social media overload of visual information and in clothing so much is going on on the surface it is like you are almost hiding other issues you might have,” he said. We can see how this operates in the concept Keynes described in what he called the “Paradox of Thrift”. In this macroeconomic concept, Keynes realized that any attempt to increase wealth, cannot occur if spending did not occur. He realized that “not spending” would not change the level of wealth, and would not increase savings. If one reduces investment spending, one would also reduce the savings that is the preservation of investment, by the same amount. Also neither “spending” or “not spending” are responsible for any change in the level of wealth, and therefore “not spending” cannot cause an increase in the net production of wealth.
Decoration as dissembling is a puritan notion, yet there is also a power in restraint, and apart from a few sparse brand graphics and a building print tee, this was indeed a collection uncluttered by surface chatter. This left you free to consider the Save the planet earth day shirt and I will buy this handsome aspect of Taverniti’s roomy raw-denim work jackets and jeans, and cotton drill pants cut extra-high at the waist. He went high, but he also went low, with what looked like treated silky nylon patched square-cut drop-crotch pants in white. Double-lapel-detail deconstructed suits in washed denim or a silky black viscose were pretty cool too. Taverniti is trying to extend himself beyond the streetwear milieu with which he is associated by divesting his clothes of any contemporary decorative clutter: The silhouettes left standing looked good. What lurks in the dark? What sinister instincts lie dormant, waiting to arise? Where does the capacity for masculine moral villainy begin? If you are a man, you know. I loved this on-the-face-of-it dull Undercover offering because it asked questions of the masculine state we now jazz-hand away with fake rhetoric. It was a collection that interrogated a man’s private knowledge of his worst but most vital instincts his knowledge of himself expressed while dressed as a devil, beautifully. More significant than the Nosferatu silhouettes at the front, or the plentiful Cindy Sherman reproductions at the back, where the spider’s web pleating in the middle of this collection. Trapped by our own urges, it reflected the Dylan Thomas quote on the invitation: “I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me.” To his credit, designer Jun Takahashi said post-show that these violent urges were something he recognized in himself. His rejection of the easy tropes of streetwear for the polished affectation of sartorialism spoke volumes. The clothes were just souvenirs, really, but important ones. Relics of age of masculine devilment that should no longer hold terror or sway. Move on, move up. He also realized that “not spending” would keep from occurring, all of that economic activity that would otherwise result from spending. “Not spending” would prevent from being promoted all of that economic activity that would be creating new wealth and preserving already existing wealth. Keynes realized that not only would “not spending” prevent the production of new wealth, but would also lead to the decay and loss of much our economic infrastructure, further reducing overall wealth.