We weren’t sure what to expect upon entering the dark, smoky warehouse of Sandrine Philippe’s Fall Winter 2016 menswear presentation, but knowing the designer’s personal aesthetic and style, we knew that we wouldn’t be disappointed. The venue was set up like a stage, with an ominous rope cocoon hanging from the ceiling and as the lights dimmed, we took our seats to witness the unveiling of Philippe’s “Unplugged” collection. Models descended a spiral staircase and took their places one by one while dark cryptic music filled the venue and a dancer slowly emerged from the cocoon to launch into an evocative, hypnotic dance piece.
The theme behind this season’s collection invites us to turn away from the constraints of modern society, technology and our digital dependence in favor of a pilgrimage to our true origins. After the enigmatic performance, models retook the center stage and we submerge into a Dystopian landscape that Philippe has carefully crafted. Using all of her signature techniques of textile manipulation, natural materials like wool and leather are distressed, wrinkled, stretched, dyed, torn, deconstructed and reconstructedÂ -Â there are no limits to Philippe’s ingenuity. The models ranged from all ages; these are the men that Philippe designs for, her garments shaping the timeless armor for men who are sure of their own identity.
Sticking to her classic dark palette of greys and blacks, the rugged collection feels ready to face the post apocalyptic world where heroes take on the chaos in silhouettes of asymmetrical shirts, shredded tunics, draped jackets, over-sized hooded coats and slim leather trousers that twist around the leg. Though the collection looks inherently raw, the details are not overlooked and can be seen in the meticulous combination of textures, straps and frayed finishing that is left rough around the edges. Her presentation was more of an art performance than a pure runway show and Philippe took this opportunity to immerse us into her universe. From the shadows and obscurity comes a menswear collection that is vindictive, rough and captivating for men who are unafraid of shedding their skin.
byÂ C. Wai