Palmiers du Mal | New York Fashion Week: Men’s
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” Or said William Blake. In a season heavily focused on politics and deeper meanings, it’s refreshing to see a bold, colorful collection that isn’t afraid to have a little fun.
“The collection was ideated around a hypothetical debauched clergy; The Young Pope, gone on safari and having returned to the Riviera with his cadre of louche associates -– sinful nuns, bishops, and cardinals, indulging their every carnal, Dionysian desire. Designed for the nomadic, artistic creative with a lascivious disposition in pursuit of a quixotic existence, Palmiers du Mal’s 2018.01 collection sees the Palmiers du Mal man embrace every romantic, libidinous inclination.”
Palmiers du Mal | NYFW: Men’s
(Photos: Katie Thompson)
Inspired by universal, unisex shapes, Palmiers du Mal’s 2018.01 collection dives into a deeper narrative set around the idea of dismantling authority. In the philosophical tradition by which the brand is influenced, the 2018.01 collection calls into question “power,” and puts to task the authority figures who shaped our collective adolescence, probing the very foundations of their power. Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel, a luxe Bohemian enclave adjacent to one of the few remaining private parks in Manhattan, provides a sumptuous, baroque canvas ideal for digesting the latest work from Palmiers du Mal, continuing down a road of creative decadence the brand openly celebrates.
“This season we truly embrace storytelling as a means of ascertaining clarity on the infinite questions our global climate presents to us,” says Creative Director Shane Fonner. “In the face of so much uncertainty, we more deeply explore the concept of Utopia; of living one’s ideal day in one’s ideal place – the creation of a reality in the fullest sense of the word. The collection is inspired by not only the abstract notions of a particular time and place, but also the community of people we choose to associate with and the physical structures we inhabit. I imagine a robust confrontation with aesthetics and the reality of the world around us, and as such my interests are leaning towards architecting entire physical spaces in conjunction with the collection that can render this search for Utopia possible. Gramercy Park Hotel provides the archetypical ambiance for my vision this season, and always.”
A progression from previous seasons, the collection adds in numerous new shapes, many of them completely gender agnostic. Capelets executed in luxe faux furs, Italian smoking jackets reeking of sensual, loungey evenings spent beneath the Mediterranean sky, and the re-emergence of caftans enhance the lasersharp resort focus for the brand, rendering casually elegant proportions draped in velvet and animal print. Luxury Japanese fabrics dominate the collection, with five innovative takes on the concept of a “formal lounge pant,” ideal for living that perfect day. A traditional military piece, the gunner smock is reincarnated in floral and zebra, featuring a racing stripe that resonates throughout the collection, and grounds the ecstaticism of the collection’s brazen textiles with a pale rose palette. The safari elements pair with the sunwashed colors of the “Spanish Riviera” and Barcelona’s Gracia neighborhood, where some of the collection was first sketched.
As a result, we see an exploration of colliding worlds, with brash Dalmatian print splashed against a creamy velvet, a wild French-made African tribal mask textile (exclusive to the brand) with soft silk rose piping atop sumptuous ecru French terrycloth. “The rules we’ve grown up abiding by no longer make sense,” says Fonner. “Despite the chaos around us, we can find and create beauty. Through transformation and creation of a physical space, like a hotel, which I hope to have the opportunity to pursue soon, I believe fashion can speak to a broader ethos, offering not just escapism, but hope.”
The fourth runway collection from the brand will show off-site at the legendary Gramercy Park Hotel and its rock and roll haven, Rose Bar, marking the first time the brand has moved from the traditional CFDA NYFW: Men’s runway venue. “Palmiers’ Mammal of Paradise unleashes his seditious side once more,” adds Fonner. “There’s an overt sensuality to this morning-after rock star vibe, and it feels very current. The Palmiers man is well-informed, global, and insightful, and this season he’s going inward to explore this overwhelming sense of helplessness in the face of the geo-political climate, indulging a nihilism that is broken only by a belief in freedom and beauty.”