Patrik Ervell is on a roll. If his USP is an artful isolation of the alien in the familiar, it took a big step forward with a Spring collection that adopted The North Face and Teva as launchpads for another outside-in dissection of Americana. Ervell called it "a California mindset." That's the state where industrial design was most bent on creating the kind of leisure technology that the rest of the world considers quintessentially American. It's also the state in which Ervell was raised when his parents moved back from Sweden, and he invoked it today with a huge sweltering sun that rose and set as a backdrop to a rapid-fire parade of his usual fast and furious young mannequins.
As Ervell astutely noted after his show, California is also the place where the West ran out for dreamers and pioneers. An exhausted spirit of adventure has always been part of his design vocabulary. The repurposed parachutes, the military puffas de-puffed, the working man's wear gone limp, the man that tailoring turned boyish—you could dredge a whole lot of social comment from any Ervell collection. What time and experience have given him is the ability to transmogrify such notions of defeated idealism into a paradoxically ever-more-confident design ethos. Sure, that may have been The North Face in the outerwear and Teva on the feet today, but the Ervellian essence was intact: pride, defiance, and urgency.
One caveat: He has nailed that mood with his menswear, but the handful of women's outfits Ervell showed underscored the distance he has to travel to match his girls to his boys. Last season's apocalyptic scenario helped him bridge the gap (it'll always be girls on top at the end of the world), but it opened up again with Spring's set of weirdly proportioned womenswear.
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