June 18, 2013 London
Nineties fabulosity colored the lot. Clever touches set the scene: the lanyards whose woven bands spelled out "Shaun Samson" in numeric pager code, the Samson-branded waistbands of boxers, peering out from over the waistbands of shorts. There was such a heady sense of objectification about his muscled boys shrugging off their shirts and sagging their shorts (nine a.m. show slot be damned) that it put one in mind of the young Marky Mark in his Calvins. But his shorts weren't silk georgette and organza like these.
There's frisson in that froth, but it's not overwrought, unlike the work of some other young designers. It has the gentle friction Samson managed to ignite by putting several of his surf-iest guys in towels, wrapped around the waist. "It's not a fashion statement," he said. "It's a way for a man to wear a skirt." So it isn't, and it is.
If it's possible to have a light touch with bugle-beaded stripes—or last season's sequin paillette basketball shorts—Samson has it. Maybe that's just the SoCal way, man. Whatever it is, it's worth celebrating. Samson lives in the sweet spot where tickling a fancy meets touching a nerve.