Whatever else Alexandre Plokhov may be, he is certainly one of menswear's grand obsessives, wearing his arcane influences on his sleeve at the occasional expense of accessibility, uplift, and plain old appeal. When he invoked a book of daguerreotypes of Russian Orthodox monks as inspiration for his latest collection, there was a moment of apprehension as it seemed like he might be about to plunge us once more into Gothic gloom, but perhaps it's the temper of these turbulent times that allowed Plokhov's self-described "journey from darkness to light" play out like a spring awakening. Sure, it was as solemn as a mass on a mountaintop, but there was elegance, even beauty, in the elongated lines and rigorous cut.
The palette was black, gray, and white—coal, ash, and alabaster, he called them—to represent the two divisions of Orthodox clergy: the Monastic (celibates who wear only black) and the Parochial (who wear white and are allowed to marry). The only direct quote from monkish garb was the leather belts, but there is a clerical severity in Plokhov's aesthetic that reads priestly at the best of times, like the most extreme piece here, a kind of maxi-skort—half pant, half kilt—or the long coats that wouldn't look out of place on a curé de champagne. Lining up against that mood was the mutated sportswear: the long, layered tanks or a belted gilet with a racerback.
In keeping with the spiritual theme, Plokhov said he'd placed an emphasis on pure fabrics. They were what really made the collection, from the corded cotton of coats and jackets to washed, vegetable-dyed leathers of a surpassing softness to open-weave Irish linen and a finale of homespun white cotton that had a godly gleam. Some tanks in a micro-modal synthetic as soft as cashmere injected a little lightness. Otherwise, the cloths were substantial enough to suggest all-year wear. "There is too much disposability," Plokhov declared. "I want things to last."