The starting point of this collection is the duality of nature. Even after centuries of industrial progress, these elements of nature maintain their intrigue, mystery and wonder about them. Owls for example are not just birds; their silence and disengagement is almost as inexplicable as it’s charming. Vast and impenetrable woods still put fear into us, humans. Uncharted swamps serve no real purpose but remain the staple of sinister tales and whispered stories. Poisonous weeds (like the Canadian Virginia Creeper of the collection’s title) are a wonderful sight to the eye of the spectator while at the same time cannot be touched or eaten. No wonder their splendid, self-contained isolation implies to a higher, and more pure state of mind.
The colours used in the collection are all derived from nature-related themes: forest browns and nightly blacks, dark greys, leafy greens and snowy off-whites. Just like owl feathers or the shades over swamps keep mixing into each other, the silhouettes also have changing colour tones, similar to the notion of camouflage. Certain shapes are tricks to the eye: a ‘double’ coat, looking like a bomber jacket worn over a long coat, is in fact cut in one piece. In contrast to this tribute to nature, there’s an intense technological side on the collection. Just like nature is brutalised by the intrusion of humans, the clothes are equally involved in a battle where throwaway plastic – commonly used to produce garbage bags- is thrown as much as ‘anti-nature’ materials such as nylon, fake leather, rubber, waxed cotton and varieties of plastic, for trousers, ponchos and capes. To complete the collection, U.S. collegiate teenage fashion (baseball blousons, sport sweaters) also filters through the collection, as a contrast element between mixing cultures.
Some of the clothes were acid-treated so they would torn and rip as if they were eaten by moths. The items were firstly sold in an excellent condition but they would “rot” with wear. This technique may represent not only the themes of decomposition but also man’s inability to sustain his battle against the natural order, that his resistance is ultimately pointless. The rotting fabric also provides the wearer with a sense of authenticity and personal history, as each piece lives on different from the others. There are so many highlights in the collection but definitely the most notorious ones are the NEBRASKA sweatshirt (Virgil Abloh infamously took the graphic as a reference for Off–White a couple seasons ago), and the Virginia Creeper logo hoodie.
Written by Iñaki Alaba