The Kiko Kostadinov Men’s AW2021-22 collection continues the designer’s intrinsic exploration of hauntology – a Derridean portmanteau of ‘haunting’ and ‘ontology’ that prescribes the ghostly return of elements from the past. Originally referring to Marxist theory and later applied to music, cultural memory and retrofuturism, when applied to fashion a hauntological reading allows for the postmodern ‘non-origins’ of Kostadinov’s designs to exist as a construct of myriad, non-linear references. Amongst those signposts, a pair of literary works inject the collection’s perpetual experimentations in patternmaking with the leitmotifs of speculative and bucolic narrative. The first, Christopher Priest’s A Dream of Wessex (1977), delves into a future trapped within virtual reality. The second, Patience Grey’s Honey From A Weed (1986), charts the author’s culinary adventures of foraging across the Mediterranean. Though neither appear literal nor overt, both stories permeate with a striking polarity to express extreme notions of formality, comfort, utility and artifice.
Interspersed with the hothouse shades of alien ikebana, a coastal winter palette navigates between cloudy blues, petroleum, russet, umber and dun-coloured browns into flashes of turquoise, rose, lavender, vermillion and canary yellow. Colliding with motocross panelling and classical dressmaking techniques, raw edges and round shoulders soften the season’s futuristic uniforms layered over zipped vareuse and cycling tops. A tectonic camouflage of hybrid florals debuts print, dressing humble cottons and pyjama silks in chaotic finery as shawl collars, tabard tops and gardening aprons are detached from gender to stir distant memories of both labour and rest.
Tactical and ceremonial garments are treated with equal rigour, as archetypes like the flight suit, peacoat and cricket sweater are deconstructed to create new yet familiar forms. Trousers evolve from Bulgarian folk costume, lacing through petal-shaped eyelets at the waist and calf. Dissected at the elbow, blazers morph with ribbed arm warmer sleeves, mimicked by two-tone knitted jackets or U-neck jersey gilets worn over club collar shirts. The classic textures of French tweed and flannel checks find new eccentricity as curvilinear appliqués, subverting dusty connotations of prestige.
The Kiko Kostadinov Men’s AW2021-22 collection is situated in a Priest-inspired purgatory, where suspended vertical sleeping pods await bodies in a clinical construct of chromatic planed surfaces. The simulation of a runway presentation riffs on the standardized documentation of fashion show imagery, removing elements of cinematic storytelling and art direction to comment on our perceived notions of the genre. Breaking this traditionalist conceit, a dual approach to still imagery sees a concise group of 30 silhouettes released to traditional media outlets in a core representation of the season, whilst a further 60 silhouettes will expand the styling possibilities of the collection as randomized triptychs in a dedicated window on kikokostadinov.com.