Replacing hip-hop with Japanese sumo wrestling propelled Danish designer Astrid Andersen's collection into new yet very familiar territory.
"My first stockists were in Japan," Andersen said backstage after the show, and during a recent trip she observed how Japanese guys styled her clothes differently than what she's used to. "The way I see sexy isn't the same as the Japanese, and with this collection I wanted to create a hybrid of the two."
In reality, this still meant hunky guys in basketball jerseys (this time in purple fur), but with the addition of kimono-style robes and a type of apron—called a kesho-mawashi—which sumo wrestlers wear during their ring-entering ceremony. "They tell a story with these aprons about where they are from. That's exactly what I want to do with my brand. I want it to feel like it's for a certain type of boy," Andersen explained. Color-wise it was her boldest collection so far, translating into crushed velvet tracksuits in amber orange, or boxing robes in a color scale from purple over pink and back to orange. There were Andersen favorites, like lace-covered sports bras for men (perhaps some of these men needed the support for their muscular moobs), while a cross between a bolero jacket and sporty hoodie over a transparent top—putting the viewer's gaze firmly on the model's six-pack—alluded to the current fetishism surrounding washboard stomachs among young men.
This collection surely will tickle the Andersen fan's fancy, but there's a fine line between staples and schtick, and some of what was shown just felt a bit too dragged down by déjà vu. There's no denying that what the designer does is subversive in some way, but exactly how? Is it adding a radical street vibe into fashion or does it go the other way—injecting gender confusion into what is in essence a macho culture. Knowing that A$AP Rocky is one of Andersen's admirers (she recently created a unique fur coat for the rapper), it seems more likely to be the latter, since Rocky's fashion-savvy wardrobe has caused more conservative dressers to raise a scandalized eyebrow on several occasions.