NYFW REVIEW | SIKI IM SS14
Filed onto benches in a disused car park on the Lower East Side, we sat waiting for the Siki Im show to begin. On the one hand, the desolate, grunge-chic environment coupled with the quasi-Renaissance string quartet playing in the background perfectly embodied the show’s title, “R E M O R S E”, transporting us to some derelict prison chapel (the collection’s inspiration came from prison inmates, and Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment quotations littered the program). On the other hand, the woman shamelessly taking selfies next to me reminded us all that we were firmly grounded in NYFW.
Before the clothes themselves are mentioned, I think the footwear foibles ought to be addressed… Every outfit was paired with slippers. Aesthetically, I thought they worked very well. They reflected the leisurely, comfortable aspect of the clothing, whilst at the same time referencing institutions, prisons, etc. However, I don’t know if their suitability for the precarious terrain of a sloped and uneven runway was considered. Models shimmied down the catwalk in a Geisha-like fashion, trying their hardest not to let a shoe fly off, some even laughing along the way. I must congratulate one boy whose slipper was being held on just by his little toe, who sashayed and pounded that runway as though he were clad in the snuggest Loubies. I doth my wig to you.
But, despite pedestrian issues, the collection held its own. Inspired by the idea of sinning and the following progression towards self-reflection and self-realisation via remorse, prisons and institutions form a large part of the references for this collection. Jumpsuits were an obvious nod towards these institutional uniforms; but, in keeping with the idea of an emotional freedom through self-realisation, their dimensions were made more loosely fitting and relaxed, so that these garments became not a sign of constriction but of release. Trousers were often drop-crotch and wide-legged, adding to this sense of ease and leisure. The colour palette of strikingly clinical bright whites alongside neutral greys, warmed with rose accessories (scarves and plastic shirts) added to this institutional re-appropriation.
Tattoos also featured heavily in the collection. Citing the fact that prisoners often “have a record of their sins in the form of tattoos, particularly in Russia where men wear their life stories on the skin”, tattoo references were infused throughout much of the collection. Not only were several of the models inked up (perhaps that was why I didn’t book the show? My skin too virginal and innocent – free from sin? Let’s go with that), but also the clothing directly referenced it. Models were wrapped in plastic tops, resembling the plastic protective covering you get after a tattoo. In the finale, each model donned one of these plastic sheaths. Plus, the prints on certain items like the cotton triangle conductor pants of look 13 were inspired by tattoos. Although I did like the prints, I felt that they weren’t visceral enough. If a collection is based on prison, crime, repentance, and these stories etched into skin with needle and ink, I’d have visions of a print slightly more raw than neatly aligned images, even if they are of skulls and insects and the like.
My personal favourite look was the combination of the white suit with the rose plastic shirts underneath. And towards the end of the collection, from look 23 to 26, the plastic shirts with striped detailing were phenomenal.
I ran straight home and wrapped myself in cling film trying to replicate the look – not quite as chic.
Text: Jacob Mallinson Bird
Photo: Maxime La
- September 17