Of all the shows on this season’s NYFW schedule, Ohne Titel was one that I loved from the very first look. Inspired by the colours and wing patterns of moths, the designers went with a neo- Victorian look with this offering, creating a grungy, darkly glamourous collection that was the a great mix of quirk and practicality.
Moths may seem like an odd inspirational source for a prêt-à-porter collection, especially since when given time and opportunity, these insects are known to happily eat garments down to nothing. Citing Joseph Scheer’s famous photography series as their starting point, the designers were intrigued by the dark, subtle beauty and the intricate patterns of moth wings (patterns which are the result of light diffracted through a complex microscopic structure of ribs and holes). To a design team that has gained recognition for its masterful and technically innovative approach to knitwear, this obviously provided an unrivaled design source, and the designers went above and beyond expectations with this collection.
A dark theme came in early with a design homage to the natural colour gradations of moths wings. This took the collection to a, “…Gothy, Victorian place,” Ms. Adams explained, and resulted in an offering that fused classic historical design with modern creativity. This translated into more subdued shapes that were longer, leaner and more restrictive than previous Ohne Titel collections have been. Hemlines were low, necklines relatively high and cuts were slim and body- skimming. It sounds a little prudish at first- and it would have been had the designers not softened the effect with tiny knitted ruffles, sheer panels, lace trims, precise cutouts, beaded overlayes and soft, billowing fringes of sheer fabric and feathers. These details were most unexpected and gave a futuristic feel to the whole collection, a sense that was pushed even further when the garments were viewed in detail.
Clever fabrication was everywhere as the designers experimented with construction techniques throughout the show. Many of the pieces that went down the runway were made using a combination of 3D printing and knitting, a look that can easily be called modern chain-mail since it was created by knitting small acrylic rings into crocheted panels and joining them with 3D printed closures. “I love the unexpected mix of old-world and futuristic manufacturing. We looked to chainmail structures for inspiration and elongated our ‘chains’ to make a herringbone structure,” Ms. Gill explained. “It’s interesting to work with 3D modelers and the printers to see what is possible.”
Elsewhere the designers used old- world processes on new materials to create surprisingly futuristic looks. An old basket weaving technique was used on rubberized wool to create pieces that could pass for leather when viewed from afar. Knitted dresses and tops were often spliced with mesh panels or studded with metallic beads, and polyurethane lace and mesh panels were layered over gauze, creating the feel of a flexible cage- a visually appealing detail that provided flexibility and ease of movement as well as a sense of protection.
A Victorian influence was stronger in the less intricate pieces; ruffled knit tops and long skirts with fluted hems, glamourous fur vests, plumed sheer skirts and dresses topped with lace and trailing sleeves. There were metallic ribbed-knit dresses in rich shades of emerald and wine, skintight lurex tops and tailored trousers in heavy silk and wool. Embellished bandeaux tops, sheer net blouses and the black bodysuits that were worn under most looks injected some extra sex appeal into the lineup while comfier pieces like roomy sweaters, knitted track-pants and outsize cardigans were welcome changes to all the body- conscious fare.
Accessories were in keeping with the grungy neo- Victoriana: feathered headbands, patterned sock- boots and ruffled booties, the perfect things to round off such a collection.
It was an impressive show- the grunge, the sexiness, the innovative techniques spelled out new ground for the brand and resulted in an engaging collection. Almost every piece had that coveted transitional day-to-night ease that is lacking with so many designers, and you can wear almost anything from this offering straight off the runway. The palpable need-it-now quality is felt throughout the whole collection, and I can see that many people will be fighting to own even the fussiest pieces in the lineup- the looks with the feathered hems, sheer panels and 3D printed elements.
Ohne Titiel’s darkly glamorous Fall 2016 showing was one of the highlights from the New York shows, and I loved everything about it.
Xx – Ana