‘Nothing is certain except the politics of unease and suspicion.’
Time stretches between season and season. A lot can happen. For the past six months, day after day, we have been haunted by dread – a different nightmare in a different city. It is no wonder that Matthew Miller’s AW17 show took a political stance. A peaceful protest against a silent destroyer: fear.
Soothed by beautifully tranquil music, he initially created a calming atmosphere, but it was soon disturbed by the anxiety that lies within us all. A voice, somehow both comforting and disconcerting, poetically spoke of worry, as we watched the models pace the catwalk. Adorned in black, white and granite, they seemed content, but the designer’s ever-vigilant attention to detail revealed a panic that lurked beneath the surface – vertical blood-red stripes cut down the model’s faces and dripped from their eyes. They marched in ‘uniforms for the disenchanted, disenfranchised and disengaged’. With a lamb-like innocence (protected in Yorkshire wool and Italian shearling), they were walking towards the slaughter.
Minimal simplicity fought with cutting danger. The subtle shapes of staples - the car coat, the leather jacket – were sliced with threat as harness packs and straps evoked extremist danger. Both tense and at ease, packing half a year into ten minutes, the nuanced mix of soft and sharp was draining. But stillness trumps madness. Closing the show, the models stopped their protest, defiant and tranquil, holding banners emblazoned with capital FEAR. As the boys stood together as a generation, a camaraderie of light began to emerge in the darkness - the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Words by Jonny Clowes.
Photography by Maud Maillard.