The sound of water, bubbling somewhere in the wilderness, covered in the abstract beats of drums and cymbals turning into a rave which transforms into an upbeat Indian melody. All so wildly mismatched and still, it all made complete sense. Kiko Kostadinov took inspiration from German artist Martin Kippenberger and his interpretation of Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika, portraying a fictional utopia of universal employment, in order to create functional, visually captivating clothes. It was all about athleisure. But no, not the Paris Hilton circa 2002 Juicy Couture kind of athleisure. At some moments loose, at others tailored, but always functional. More so than usual, Kiko considered fabrications as a primary form of expression for this multicultural approach to menswear. Brocades and elaborate prints were juxtaposed against lightweight nylons, while heavy jewellery and matching sun hats got styled with casual suiting. All of it completed with footwear that’s bound to become a street style staple. In collaboration with Asics, Kiko re-imagined their cult Tug of War sneaker, while his ongoing work with Camper resulted in in the re-edition of the brand’s TEIX hiking boots. With such a mish-mash of references and inspirations, there’s always a danger of rubbing someone up the wrong way. But on this occasion, this bric-a-brac approach resulted in what we can’t help thinking was Kiko’s best collection yet. Culturally ambiguous, but incredibly clear and focused. Where do we buy a one-way ticket to Kiko’s utopia?
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans