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There is nothing languid, routine, or sweet about the Fall-Winter 2011/12 Menswear Collection presented by Lars Stoten. The mood is electricity—a bold reflection of British working class youth, and a visual homage to Lars Stoten’s early 80s ‘bother boy’ roots.
Mjölk’s exquisite structural leitmotif, and the emphasis on tailoring it typically entails, led Lars to explore ways to add a bare-boned stillness to the AW11 collection. Hence, an emphasis on the juxtaposition of engineered structure with the innately casual. Each look emanates the necessity of function, cultural appropriation, and ritual of dress. (To wit, the worn, organic drapery of a beaten denim jacket paired with the hot pink polished vinyl of a constructed demi-mac). This softening and distressing of certain fabrics brings a tough beauty to the range, while still affording the comfort and reassuring sensibility embodied by silk-and-lambswool hand-knitted cardigans, and American melton wool loom-woven suiting.
As usual, the visual idea is to break with style trends and take viewers by surprise, maintaining Mjölk’s permanent state of revolution. The resulting combination of these proportions, cuts, and textures exudes the overall subtlety of an anti-bourgeois aesthetic. This carefully crafted display of subversive elegance embodies a natural point of confluence in this uniquely innovative collection.
With a shift from Australian to American production, Mjolks Australian roots are still ever present with 60% of their current production still on our shores.
At the beginning of the design period for this collection, Mjölk moved permanently into a new studio in the Chinatown section of Manhattan. As designer Lars Stoten rode his bike up the East River to the studio every morning, he was faced on one side with the majesty of the East River, and on the other with the grit and pungency of New York City in the summertime. The space occupied while designing is essential to concept development for the Mjölk collections, and this season it is the clash of generations and cultures, the dichotomies of old and new, the smells, colors, and textures, the beauty and adness of downtown Manhattan and its history, that show through in the range. These sensory observations led to intensive, eclectic conceptual research. The history of industrial New York and Coney Island, Depression-era photography, aerial views of farmland, stained glass windows, and contemporary art all inspired the balanced and distinctive range of colors and shapes this season.
Palette, proportion, and sense of line further dictate the theme and personality of the range. An exercise in color theory and the art of design, the Mjölk Spring/Summer 2011 collection draws from the mechanics and history of visual art, focusing on relationships between colors and shapes, and the affect these manipulations have on the viewer. Bold primary colors give way to subtle secondary and tertiary shades of green, burgundy, soft brown, and warm grey, allowing magnanimously disjointed looks to come together in chromatic harmony when the collection is viewed as a whole. Carefully calculated
combinations and distributions of hues, patterns, and textures pay homage to aesthetics and the visual sense, creating a spirit of subtle affability, visual coherence, and focused artistry throughout the line.
In Mjölk’s ongoing commitment to craftsmanship, the collection features hand-finished leather detailing, antique leather buttons, hand-knitted lambswool, Liberty prints, tailored garments in Japanese cotton, and rain macs developed with a family-run company in Boston who has specialized in coats for area fishermen for generations. The spring line also features hand-cobbled Italian shoes, and a full series of leather goods. One of New York City’s only remaining belt-makers hand-crafted this season’s belts using leather also sourced in Manhattan and buckles forged in Rhode Island. Location, palette, and craft converge in one of Mjölk’s most distinctive collections.
Inspired by the melding of generations, juxtapositions of past and present, and themes of abandonment and renewal, Mjölk materialises every stage in a man’s life: his childhood and youth, wearing his father’s oversized jackets, school uniforms, and tee-shirts; his entrance into adulthood with denim and shirting; his middle age with tailored suiting and overcoats; the end of his life with nostalgic knits and corduroy. The collection, literally and figuratively, patches together the different textures, shapes, colours, and proportions that distinguish one generation from another, consolidating the span of a lifetime into a singular visual set.
Mjölk’s Autumn/Winter collection finds its palette in city neighbourhoods whose character and beauty stem from long-standing cycles of cultural death and rebirth. The forgotten cobblestones of Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill tell the haunted and invigorating stories of the neighbourhood’s past and present. Mjölk follows the lives of the world’s great poets who lived and worked there—Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, E.E. Cummings, William Carlos Williams—and re-imagines the beauty and tragedy of these artists’ lives. Their wit, demeanour, and sense of physical appearance supplies endless philosophical and visual inspiration this season.
The fin-de-siecle and Depression-era art scenes in New York combine with the passage of time, the movement of generations, abandonment, and renaissance to inspire this season’s collection. A mélange of contrasting textures, colours, and cuts complements Mjölk’s long-standing devotion to a perfect sense of line, shape, and fit.
Raw footage from the epitomise Mjolk Autumn/Winter 2005 Runway at Melbourne Fashion Week.
Click on video to be redirected to Facebook to view in HD.
Thanks to Candy Wyman!
An array of Australian and NZ labels will be presenting this year at Capsule in New York on the 18th and 19th January. We wish the brands good luck, especially for up and coming Vincent & Vincent.
Here are the actual 2010 Northern Hemisphere looks.
Some detailed shots from the upcoming collection titled: ‘Cameras For Eyes and Horses For Hearts’.
A retrospective of Mjolk websites archived by F-T.
In 2005 when Mjolk wasn’t world famous and Patty P. Bone Pebbles from The Whiskey Go Gos was Mjolks muse for 2 seasons.
Filmed at Australian Fashion Week in Sydney.
Video care of F-T archived Pedestrian.TV(Pedestrian Group, 2005), left in original unedited form.