lacoste pays homage to space travel and grunge history with fall/winter 17
The French house looked to its founder’s aviation past to reimagine its future.
"What could be more ingenious than an astronaut's suit?" asked Lacoste's notes at this morning's fall/winter 17 show. "The perfect blend of imagination, fantasy, and high technology, it is the ideal place to start." For Rene Lacoste, flight was the ideal place to end. As his athletic career drew to a close, the French house's founder shifted gears and joined the aircraft industry, applying his drive for innovation to assisting in the development of aviation. This season, creative director Felipe Oliveira Baptista looked forwards and backwards — drawing inspiration from Lacoste's later career, as well as this sense of futuristic function and fantasy.
Lacoste, Baptista explained backstage, "worked for Concorde and Airbus through the end of his life. In the very long sequence of inventiveness, it's also funny to pay tribute to that. And my father was a pilot; I've been on planes since I was a kid, and have always been fascinated by that, and by sci-fi films. So I thought, let's take the crocodile into a cosmic voyage." The label converted Spring Studios into a Mars-like planet, scattering enormous rocks throughout the warmly lit show space.
Drawing inspiration from the intricate technical construction of interstellar uniform, Baptista put his emphasis on details: trousers with multiple cargo pockets, overcoats with venting panels, structured dresses with versatile snaps, and jumpsuits with zipper finishings. Space artist's Ron Miller's reproductions of Saturn and the moon appeared as prints on jackets and sweaters, and also informed the collection's color palette. Miller's clashes of browns, slates, and dusty reds with blue and purple metallics echoed throughout the colorblocked offering.
With baggy trousers, layering elements, and oversized shapes in mind, Baptista simultaneously recalled the grunge aesthetic of his teen years. Though retrofuturism is so closely associated with a sort of 70s imagination, Baptista shifted his focus to the 90s as a broader gesture of memory. "I was looking at all of my clothes from the archives, but also thinking about my own life, like, 'remember we used to wear that?' I started thinking about Kurt Cobain, how he was a punk when I was a teenager. Now, he's a timeless, iconic figure. So it's interesting, to look at what became timeless and iconic about the 90s and pay homage to that." Cobain's shaggy cardigans and lumberjack flannels were updated for the new age. The presence of natural fabrics like wool and leather made sure the collection didn't feel too far from home.
The connection between grunge and flight was unexpected, because Baptista allowed it to be. "It's good as well to think of something that's a bit more out there, when things are so stressful and so confusing," he explained, nodding to the turbulent political era that has other New York designers, like Collina Strada's Hillary Taymour, ready to take a mission to Mars and start anew. "For me, it was an excuse to work on something that that was kind of free. I try to push myself, push things forward."
Text Emily Manning
Photography Mitchell Sams