It would probably have been too obvious to play hip-hop on the runway, even
though that music style, along with graffiti, propelled Felipe Oliveira
Baptista in such a dynamic direction this season. So much so, in fact, that
the word "swagga" appeared in his show notes.
This was not, however, an exercise in emulating any one artist, nor in drawing too literally on rhymes or tags. It was, Baptista said after the show, about a creative process that allowed him to "dissect, transform, and put back together."
There was all of that and more—specifically, a kinetic interpretation of camouflage that looked as though Baptista had passed an electric current through the pattern and watched it shake. He also shook up his shapes and his palette. The collection began tamely enough with a navy molded-shoulder short-sleeve shirt and men's trouser. The solid army green and white looks that followed foreshadowed the asymmetry to come—but first, a memorable shirt in bonded leather and jersey boasting a flappy placket like a tie spliced in half.
Colors arrived as an entourage, dominating the short shifts and unstructured silhouettes. There was no going back. Hemlines became erratic, veering down then curving back up, all in a single skirt. Meanwhile, leather pants based on BMX uniforms were a rare example of pattern symmetry. With all this graphic entropy, Baptista did not forget about fabric. The slickest: a blend of silk and nylon that might have been more impactful without the print (Camo Variation 005, or something like that). A lot of effort went into such deliberate chaos, and the result was fun enough. But Baptista the minimalist is stronger than Baptista the maximalist.
As the creative director at Lacoste, Baptista shifts smoothly between the collections, but it's difficult to tell which informs the other. A sporty parka from this collection, minus the chopped and screwed hues, could end up emblazoned with a crocodile next season.
But all the slashings and cutouts would not fly at Lacoste. In some instances, Baptista added a printed fishnet underlay that indexed foreground from back. "I liked the idea of showing the body, but not in obvious way. Like innuendo," he explained.
Now that sounds a little more like hip-hop.