patrik ervell gets brutal for fall/winter 15
The New York-based menswear designer seeks romance and modernism in architecture this season.
"I was looking for a sweet spot between a futurist sci-fi aesthetic and a nostalgic, romantic look. And I never find that really in fashion or clothing, I find it in interiors and in architecture," New York-based menswear standout Patrik Ervell told us after his fall/winter 15 show. Where last season he used synthetic upholstery fabrics and Terrazzo marble-inspired prints to explore interiors, fall/ winter 15 found a similar intimacy, modernity, and utility in architecture.
More specifically, Patrik saw brutalist architecture as this ideal site to explore tensions between modernism and romance. "It's something that looks incredibly dated and for decades has been really hated, but when you look at it again, it's completely over-the-top, high drama," he said. "There's a funny tension between something that was once so serious and then hated for its seriousness now seems this sort of sci-fi, romantic thing."
Ervell hit this sweet spot not merely through his use of unexpected textiles and industrial materials, but also by creating more intense silhouettes this season. The proportional play between dropped shoulders and punched up collars translated brutalism's strong, intimidating lines.
But no one silhouette captured that over-the-top spirit quite like the collection's trousers, "I'm hesitant to point to period references with the pants, but the closest for me is almost a 90s raver pant. There's also knife pockets on the side so there's a workwear element. But really, it's none of those things," Ervell explained of his techy, baggy bottoms. "It's about making a new silhouette that's a bit high drama, but at the same time is very strong and beautiful."
Spangled with yellow and green neon-light plant boxes, even Ervell's set sought to capture brutalism's breed of sci-fi romance. Citing London's Barbican Center as a specific influence, Ervell noted that "People wanted to tear down that building for decades, but now it's coming back around. It's a great example of the tensions I wanted to convey."
But while his set grounded showgoers in a sense of off-kilter futurism, his beauty touches balanced these brutalist tenants with an intimate sincerity. His fresh-faced boys' gently tousled locks were held in place with a singular, visible bobby pin. "I always want to get more specific, more specific, more specific, unmistakably specific. And that was kind of the tiny little cake-icing rosette moment: to leave a bobby pin in there," Ervell said.
Usually, Ervell would tell me a little about his forthcoming vacation plans, spending some time out in the Palm Springs desert or perhaps the forests of his native Marin County. But with the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Mens kicking off in July, Ervell's vacation was over before it started. An early supporter of the initiative, Ervell believes "It's much better for menswear designers--for everybody, really--to have a bit of breathing room and to not be lumped with womens. At the same time, I feel like it might not reach its critical mass just yet. But maybe that doesn't matter now. You stage an amazing show and it lives in the internet, no matter when."
Text Emily Manning
Photography Kate Owen