An indoor parking garage set the stage for German-born, New York-based Siki Im's Spring/Summer 2014 menswear presentation. Inspired by jail and hospital uniforms, the show notes even included a quote from Dostoyevsky's Crime And Punishment and some pieces featured specially commissioned prints based on Russian prison tattoos. The surprisingly alluring white and grey outfits were reminiscent of utilitarian digs, but far more elegant thanks to the generously cut fabrics, which allowed for a sense of ease and movement, and graceful draping. Some looks featured cellophane tops under white or black blazers. Each look was accompanied by white shower sandals with matching socks. Save for some pieces with a blue or red shell print, the collection was mostly white and grey paired with black. One such variation was a shiny baby blue top, paired with grey drawstring trousers. The prison, or mental institution, look of the clothes was achieved by taking classic menswear staples, like wide-legged pants and shorts, and making their proportions baggy and dramatic. The result is haunting, stark, wearable and above all, elegant and defiant of the status quo.
While some critics argue that Siki Im's conceptual designs are better suited for foreign runways and sensibilities, this is one of the precise reasons why his showings are always an objective gem amongst the nearly uniform sportswear of his stateside peers. New York will likely lose the undeniably talented (beyond his years) Siki Im to Paris (or Berlin or Antwerp) one day, and so, we are hanging on to every thread while he is still here. Oh and don't miss John Tan's spot-on casting (think: Paul Boche, Yuri Pleskun, Aiden Andrews, Jake Shortall, Jakub Pastor, Noma, Botond and more) and David Vandewal's styling. A wonderfully-matched team and easily one of the most inspiring collections New York saw this season, if we can say so ourselves.