kwaidan editions question what's real

The duo invited us into a nocturnal world filled with replicants for spring/summer 19.

by Steve Salter
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29 September 2018, 12:14pm

Inside David Lynch's semi-private Silencio Club, London-based, LVMH Prize-finalists Kwaidan Editions shared their shapeshifting sci-fi infused spring/summer 19 collection in concert with Exotourisme, the artist-duo Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and PEREZ.

“We have wanted to work with Dominique for a long time, I’ve been obsessed by her work ever since I was studying art at 20/21," Léa explained during a preview. “When we started the business together and thought about the artists we’d like to work with, she was the first and only one on the list,” she added. “When you start a brand and have a mood board, she was on it. We had the opportunity to work with one of our heroes.” Hung explains

“Self-described introverts, Hung La and Léa Dickely only started the label in 2016 but it’s already been a finalist for the LVMH Prize, picked up by the coolest retailers in the world, and earned the respect and admiration of seen-it-all editors,” Osman Ahmed wrote in in i-D's The Earthwise Issue. Ignoring the noise of the industry and defying expectations, the film-obsessed design duo craft cinematic worlds, searching for a specific emotional chord that could reverberate into something new. Their collections can be seen a collection of captivating scenes, a collage of stitched fragments of feeling, psychic postcards from forgotten eras, shards of colour. They craft atmospheres as well as garments, reinterpreting ghosts of the past to express an uncanny and unnerving present -- they reflect and refract the strange times we live in. And what times we live in. As we look on in horror at the Kavanaugh situation, this Kwaidan Edition scene filled with Replicants felt apt. In both the senate committee hearing and the Silencio scenes, lines between real and unreal, performer and self, bystander and participant continually blurred.

Eschewing the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it catwalk parade, Kwaidan Editions and Exotourisme wanted to create a moment for the audience, an explore a new territory together within the subterranean depths of Lynch’s late-night haunt. “We didn’t want a show as such, we wanted to invite people deeper into this world,” Lea explained. “Dominique is the same with how she describes her work, not as performance or as installation but as a moment in time to share with people.” So as Dominique and PEREZ took to the stage, the duo imagined a cast of characters to inhabit their world. Together, they design a language to come. “In the space of imagination and in character: this is where we meet, Léa” explained, “she said we would contaminate each other.” The Paris-based visual artist was right. “Exotourisme shared a universe with Kwaidan Editions, a cinematic and musical multiverse full of mysterious and visual characters,” Dominique added.

“Dominique saw the replicants from Blade Runner and we had our own inspiration which was Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s World on a Wire which questioned what’s real and what’s fake. So there are similarities in our visual references.”

Filmed in 70s Paris, Fassbinder’s epic imagined the future as a “Simulacron”, a closed world of airless rooms, computer screens and cold machines, kitsch decor and alienated characters whose humanity can only be expressed through artifice. Even in this clinical and dystopian world, slivers of strange beauty and emotion slipped through unexpectedly. Kwaidan Editions echo this mood perfectly.

In their biggest collection to date -- 28 looks -- Kwaidan Editions explored the idea of a labcoat and clean workwear but juxtaposed with the clinical, they added dizzying kitsch interior prints. The coated fabrics, the plastic, the latex contrasted with cotton poplin and wool knits. What is real? What is fake?

“This is our biggest collection so far, growing from 20 to 28 looks but our approach is quite measured,” Hung explained. “We try to work within our means,” Léa added. “We’re deliberate and it’s a long term commitment.” Everything is considered and carefully constructed. Throughout the performance, Exotourisme members Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Julien Perez both wore custom-designed Kwaidan Editions for SSENSE special-edition coats, part of a capsule collection available exclusively at SSENSE in the late autumn.

As we struggle to make sense of the world around us, Kwaidan Editions offer insight and ignite the imagination in an instant.