Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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    Mike Amiri and Wes Lang Team Up for a Hardcore Art-Meets-Fashion Collab

    The resulting collection is full of pieces that are densely layered and deeply indebted not just to Lang’s work but to his process, like a woven sweater that has been washed to create pilling, then frayed, then painted, and then hand-embroidered. Elsewhere, one of Lang’s signature skulls was blown up and printed onto a liquid-y, pajama-like silk shirt-and-trousers set that now looks like marble—until you catch a glimpse of eye socket or teeth. Some T-shirts and trousers are splattered in paint, facsimiles of Lang’s own painting outfits. “When I was watching Wes work,” Amiri explained, “the paint on his shirt just looked like it was perfectly placed. I was like, ‘Hey, can I borrow your shirt? So it’s almost inspired by Wes’s own style.”

    “I didn’t want it to just be, ‘Hey, let me use your art on clothes,’” Amiri said. “Because that’s so flat.” Words like “dimension” and “texture” kept coming up in conversation—these clothes, they explained, have to be seen in person, not via social media, to be fully appreciated. Amiri wanted to mimic the idea of layers in Lang’s work by treating some garments in various ways, over and over—though distressing, embroidering, studding, and other forms of manipulation have been part of his oeuvre since he set up shop in a small studio on Sunset Boulevard in 2014. Here, the technique lent some pieces a ghostly feeling to the grim reapers, bats, and praying skeletons that haunt Lang’s work. “Because of the film industry, LA’s always been this place where you come to live out your dreams,” Lang said later. “There’s obviously a lot of darkness and weird shit that goes along with the movie industry, too,” he added. Some designs, he explained, were “really based on art I made during the height of the darkness, the darkest era of the pandemic. I wanted to have this be where all these creatures and monsters and skulls that are throughout all my pieces come from.”

    Jonas Gustavsson

    The collaboration fit nicely into the rest of the collection Amiri showed, which found him continuing his “evolution from streetwear to leisure to tailoring,” as he put it. While he made his name by packaging and updating a nostalgia for the halcyon days of The Roxy and Whiskey a Go Go, recently he’s been exploring new pastures. Just look to last season’s louche, refined, 70s-flecked collection with (gasp!) wide-legged jeans and oodles of refined outerwear. Last night—in a show that had Usher, Aziz Ansari, Travis Barker and Kourtney Kardashian, and Euphoria star Angus Cloud in the front row—there was nary a skinny jean in sight. Istead it was floppy draped trousers with split hems worn with tunic-like versions of his signature shirting (BSE!) under topcoats or bombers in buttery leather or checkerboard fur. It all felt in line with Amiri’s recent jet-set approach, showing hints of a post-pandemic hope for beauty. But the clothes also contained the tenacious drive of someone who wants to shake off what made him famous and show us that there is, indeed, something else up his sleeve.

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