Christian Westphal has been caught by the fuzz. Whereas last season was all about cut, and a comparatively languid one at that, the story for summer 2012 is texture. To ensure that the focus is on the fabrics, the Danish-born designer zeroes in on a few uncomplicated, graphic silhouettes: under-the-knee jodphurs, nylon biker jackets, pants with cut-away waistband, and the signature shirts, some of them pumped up with away-from-the-neck volumes and bringing refined, but heavy, stitches on collar pieces.
On the other side of the spectrum, a fitted jacket comes whipped up from a weightless cotton jacquard with tiny but bulky dots. From a distance the surface seems to be embroidered with tiny pieces from a turquoise beach towel, an embellishment you’re as likely to see in the Westphal collection as casual Summer wear.
In the Westphal collection you´ll see a mix of minimalism, strong silhouettes and classic American sportswear that still defines the 2010´s, and this remains Westphal’s thing. The most compelling examples here: a pair of white jackets in heavy cotton panama inset with geometric panels of heavy stitches at lapels and collars. They may be spare, but they aren’t plain.
The look is a dirty glamorous but quiet, modern Euro-boho, with an ongoing nod to armored self-confident noblemen dressed in casual cotton waistcoat, small and neat collars and accessorized with heavy trims and insect printed scarves. A style that contributes to dress with layer on layer, like the urban nomads we have become.
In a place between fantasy and often violent erotic act is the collection maintained in scratched and almost stage-like spaces. With narrow lapels, a small pleat, a color coating on thin silk crepe, but also large vertical cuts as the only props, the styles expresses both a fragile exposue and a grotesque physical energy.
Inspired by Svend Wiig Hansen’s vital expressive idiom, Dali’s and Bunuel surrealist silent movie “The Andalusian Dog,” and Gerhard Richter’s photo-art, the collection is seen as a modern bridge to the classic tailoring and contemporary visual and moral energies – and probably also, and perhaps in particular, as a commentary on the general cultural emptiness.
For every look in the collection the person steps out through the many layers of soul, thoughts, bone, flesh, skin, fabric, induced in some cases by up to one hundred sedentary sketches. And in each look the ordinary, vulnerable and raw human pops out between each layer.
But where Freud concentrated on the subconscious and psyche up in childhood, Christian Westphal´s focus is the life here and now and the personal tangible expression of the body. It is in the mirror image between the viewer and the portrayed, where the collection comes to life. And it is this encounter with humanity that is Christian Westphal´s real errand.
Christian Westphal makes fashion by sourcing all his ideas in the industrial, scientific, computer-generated possibilities of the twenty-first century. His collections are always a serene piecing-together of classic menswear tailoring, optimistic and experimenting. His background is from the Parisian chic such as design assistant for Galliano at Dior Couture and modelist at Emanuel Ungaro for 3 years.
Photos & text Copyright Christian Westphal.