In the homestretch of a roller coaster fashion month, Ann-Sofie Back's Fall collection with its references to institutions and asylums seems like an apt metaphor. Sometimes all this is just crazy. The collection was called God 2, the sequel to last season's God. But it was less about religion and more about what's within, the darker impulses fighting the light, which leads to psychoanalysis, and then to plain psycho.
There was layer of clinical-looking nylon over a burgundy wool coat, and coated white cotton shirting echoed nurses' uniforms. The silhouettes were boxy and stiff, and looked almost nailed together with flat metal studs like those you'd see in a padded cell. Back did denim for the first time, dark and unwashed, and left the exposed seams unfinished and fraying, a statement about coming undone. As a finishing touch, silver rings, bracelets, and earrings were modeled after the zip ties that are used as restraints.
Back's Atelje venture is unapologetically conceptual. She has enough of an outlet for more conventional designs in her diffusion Back line and as creative director of Cheap Monday. Clearly those allow her to use Atelje as a sort of laboratory of ideas, and to do so in beautiful, interesting fabrics like the stiff woven organza she placed as a kind of shield on a white shirt, or a great laser-textured black leather cut into baggy paper-bag waist pants—one piece you could see translating easily to real life. Also ready to make the leap: the jewelry, which did double duty as the hardware to cinch a leather clutch. A small dose of insanity goes a long way.