Patrik Ervell couldn”t have chosen a more topical theme than the friction between repression and revolt, so it seemed rather “fashion-y” of him to deny any political context for his new collection. The way he was pitching it, his theme was really his way round a new take on the aesthetic of the uniform. “What authority looks like now,” he explained. “You disarm it by referencing it.” Still sounds pretty political, but what-evs—it fortunately made for a strong, even radical showing.
The authority Ervell referenced was a police state. The uniforms were those of urban commandos. The opening outfit—a sweater in nylon-patched electric blue baby alpaca, matched to pleated flecked wool pants—set the tone: a Blade Runner -ish combo of tech and retro. Ervell”s womenswear made the point with most clarity, like the outfit that layered a long coat over a silk dress. It had a vintage make-do feel, the sort of repurposed outfit you might expect from girls gone underground when the crackdown kicked in. But clarity ultimately didn”t count, because the menswear was more interesting. Ervell talked about “moments of protest that emerge through the cracks and edges of a heavily policed state” and he found a striking visual metaphor in the gold ribbing on a nylon top, or the gold trim on a fleece jacket: hardcore function unhinged by a subversive flicker of luxury.
Where once he had shivering latex as his trump card, here Ervell used hand-painted silk in shirts, skirts, and a “SWAT jacket.” It was such a poetic touch that his notion of disarming authority suddenly made sense. Political power may grow out of the barrel of a gun, but Patrik Ervell”s poetry made a police state pretty for one mad moment.