I sometimes feel that color and print tell too much of a story. That is, it can over-tell a story. See, color is so emotional and expressive that it can suggest inklings of sensuality, depression, anger, confidence, happiness or mystery. And under the same thinking, a melange of colors expressed in certain prints can transplant one to a travelled point of interest, shared societal inference or understood cultural notation. Now while I am not bashing designers, who use color to express and cajole, since we live in color, I am often intrigued by those designers who choose to use a lack of color. For I feel that oftentimes it's these designers that are heavily inspired by the shape, structure and texture of the aesthetics behind their pieces more than they feel any color can convey.
Fueled heavily by the influence of the infamous inky Antwerp Six, many of these designers seemed to be driven by something I read the iconic Eleanor Lambert said years ago in that it's the silhouettes offered that push fashion forward. So the absence of color in their collections are a kind of appeal to the potential customer to fall into, if you will, the shape of the garment and what it's trying to create around the body. It's this intended creation, be it inspired by architecture, geometry, nature, philosophy, etc., that takes precedence over all else in establishing a reinterpreted homage to an inspired movement. So I am careful to pay close attention to a collection void of color since there is usually a strong appealing to take notice of the silhouette. Couple this with the fact that, like the famed Motley Crüe from Antwerp, it's very 'Northern Euro' to use a lack of color to explore and relay deep artistic or political philosophies. So it didn't at all surprise me that Siki Im did 90% of his Spring 2012 collection in the oft inspired black-scale.
This German native once again explored themes of Western culture while staying rooted in a strong focus on Mideast layering and Eastern Asian geometric shapes. Im also told a story of continuity that lent to his commendable patternmaking efforts with blazer and trouser pockets extended past their normal hems and placements in a 'give that a double-take' way and outerwear funnel necks that thickly swathed around the head making scarves a non-factor. His pattermaking talents also rang obvious with what seemed a slim button-down and trousers with his ubiquitous layering that surprised from the back to reveal itself as a coolly tailored jumpsuit. Also of note was his offering of something for every man, with the progressive dropped crotch trouser and tunic silhouettes and the more classic tailored lean blazers and militarized shirt jackets in dark splattered and muddled prints. Although a dark collection, it had an uncharacteristic fluidity to the shapes especially in the 'flyaway' shorts and trousers, lightweight 'parachute-esque' outerwear and thin spare cut jeans.
The only diversions from the splattering of blacks in the show were the hot-stepping white creepers on the models feet, a calm desert tan and a crisp shade of blue, cerulean perhaps, that probably had more to do with a soft appealing to the elements compared to the strong sea of blacks than any direct inference towards the ocean, being down in the dumps or the heavens above. In this case, the shades of tan and blue were still kept strong while being the only colors in a sense and still defined shape like its black counterpart. Dare I say that even Mr. Im became exhausted in assessing his assembled sea of blacks. Could be. However, I'd rather say that maybe his peek into color could just be a way of imploring us to look harder at what he wanted to highlight symbolically through appealing to our sometimes unconscious desires for color. He'll design, you decide.