"It feels nice to do a show where I'm the boss," said Alexandre Plokhov,
in an oblique reference to the seasons he spent working on Versace's
menswear. Something else that referred
back to his time with the iconic Italian label: the absolute rejection of
color in his own collection. A gothic
darkness ruled. Plokhov called his
collection "a stylistic fan letter" to musicians Glenn Danzig and Andrew
Eldritch, famously front men of iconic
goth bands, but he wouldn't brook
connotations of goth for his funereal designs. "I prefer to think of them as
heroic," he insisted. He'd picked a
very particular tribe of boys to underscore that fact: different ethnicities
yet all sharing the same bruised, broken-nosed survivalist look.
Plokhov's reservations about goth aside, it's one youth cult that can
boast it has kept its doomy integrity intact in the face of time and
reason. Likewise, Plokhov's
clothes. Unimpeachably true to the
intention of their creator but simultaneously in danger of being superfluous to needs. Consider his tip of the cap to Eldritch—"a
maniacal, visceral, and complex idea of masculinity"—and decide whether that
is something that ticks your boxes, especially when it translated as an
elongated apron/tuxedo vest over a floor-length skirt, or an overcoat in a
mohair dipped in acid so that it had a matted, oily feel ("like dirty hair,"
said Plokhov appreciatively).
During his Versace period, the designer acquired an appreciation of
Italian craftsmanship. His clothes are
produced in the Veneto, and there was an agreeable sharpness to the tailoring
of several formal jackets. But the
collection as a whole was weighed down
by its glowering obsessiveness. "Eldritch"
was one of horrormeister H. P. Lovecraft's
favorite adjectives to describe creeping dread. Lovecraft may not be the best go-to reference
for a fashion designer in these troubled times.