Though it’s probably narrow-minded, my ultimate decision on every collection I see depends on whether or not I would wear many of the pieces shown. A collection can have complete creative integrity and brilliant design behind it, and I will be satisfied. But I will be electrified, thrilled, and eager if a collection can combine these things with actual wear ability.
On that note, I've been seeing what’s new from London-based designer Ashish Gupta. He’s a designer that I respect creatively, but not necessarily a man that always makes things I would wear. I checked out his Spring/Summer 2010 collection this morning. Its essentially Ashish – kitschy, bizarrely proportioned, globally minded. And to his deserved credit, essential Ashish is fabulous (and on a side note, I very much enjoy the website design).
What I love: Map dresses/shirts (11, 14). Sequined soccer shorts (16), sequined biker jacket (32).
What I kinda like: The Warhol influence (all over).
What I feel ambivalent about: Slogans on shirts (7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23). Fanny packs (12, 20, 27), Universal symbols (6, 8, 9, 28, 29, 30).
What I don’t like: Pastel on black (all over). Spiky, shoulder-padded, stonewashed jean jackets. (1, 34: Dear GOD help me.)
The use of tropical flowers and parrots as backgrounds acts as a nod to spring/summer collections in general. The giant universal symbols (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Nike logo, peace sign) take Ashish’s kitsch out of the construction, and places it on top of the clothes themselves, freeing up the construction to be whatever it wants…which I…almost like. Still, I have to say that the things I like about this collection can’t outweigh the things I dislike. It feels like Ashish has extracted all the elements of Spring/Summer from the clothes (blooming nature, whimsy, broken-down, un-buttoned relaxation), squished them into symbols, and put those symbols on top of clothes that look like January to me. It’s admittedly clever, but doesn’t really grab me.
Though I have been consistently satisfied with his work over the past couple of years, none of his collections have thrilled me like his Spring/Summer 2007. I would happily don every piece of that one, with highlights including looks 2, 3, 10, 15, 24, 26, 28, 31, and 33. I know I can’t go back, but I’d love to see the references back in the construction, instead of having them gang up and confront me as a giant, glittery Mona Lisa.
All in all, I’m content. But I’m not over the moon.