When Siki Im revisited Italo Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveler for the first time since his days as an architecture student, it struck him that the pomo masterwork was ripe for reinterpretation into clothes. Calvino even wrote paragraph-long outfit descriptions into the book—as ideal a prescription for an intellectual menswear collection as ever there was.
If the book set Im a riddlelike challenge, then August Sander's photographic taxonomy of the German working classes clarified his brief. Together, these reference points guided Im to create a sleek, balanced menswear collection. German rail-conductor pants and workwear informed extreme drop-crotched trousers and stripped-back blazers. Cashmere scarves that wrapped around the body so as to bind arms to torsos had a self-comforting yet utilitarian air. Most looks incorporated multiple textures, underlining the richness of the materials: a gray corduroy "gas station jacket" came over a light flannel shirt, sleeveless merino sweater, and slim corduroy trousers in a narrower wale.
For the finale, Im's models emerged en masse after strapping "apron vests" over their outfits. "In the Sander images, you see a lot of these very dignified proletarian people who have these aprons," Im said backstage. "I thought, why not revisit this in a more staple menswear way?" In gray flannel or metallic gold leather, the addition of these garments brought a waistcoated propriety—and a hint of abattoir menace—to every look.