Robert Geller has never been to Moscow. Still, that didn't stop him from imagining the city in the 1980s, just before the Wall came down, with the relentless infection of Western elements like punk rock and designer jeans corrupting the hideous Soviet orthodoxy. In his new collection, Geller's imagination surely painted a much more romantic picture than the grimly insular reality. The boys in their beanies and brainiac eyewear were much more Constructivist artist than KGB informant. But the designer managed to put a pretty smart sense of flux into his clothes. The way that gulag stripes melted into abstract brushstrokes of bleach suggested the collapse of old structures. If fade-to-gray worn textures and repurposed garments (a coat with the sleeves cut off) hinted at hard times, Geller indulged himself in layers that were peculiarly rich—a leather biker over a leather waistcoat, an intense yellow jacket belted over a pant in a jade so dark it bordered on black. Or maybe just plain peculiar, like the blazer over the baseball shirt over the neoprene leggings.
Geller is a man possessed when it comes to the eighties. His soundtrack today was by Lives of Angels, a numbingly obscure husband-and-wife duo from the early years of his favorite decade. But, just as their music was appealing enough that you were grateful to Geller for the introduction, his collection hit a sweet spot, somewhere between his obsession and your own surrender to a succession of seductive items: zipped blazers, block-printed shirts, and even, in an ideal world, striped neoprene britches. One caveat—the layering said rather more about winter in Moscow than a summer that tends toward the stiflingly humid.
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