Monday 19th April

| BY Paul Toner

Paria Farzaneh: Menswear AW21

Seven months after dragging the fashion pack to the Zone 5 fields of Missenden Farm, Amersham, for her most political collection to date, Paria Farzaneh isn’t finished fucking with the system. Her AW21 collection, dubbed Country of The Blind, is a comment on how the general population follows rules set by those in power without questioning the state they live in. The English-Iranian designer was inspired by the 1996 documentary Gabbeh, directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, which follows rug makers high up in Iran’s mountains, far removed from government regulation and control.

For Farzaneh, a simple ol’ fashion film wouldn’t do this collection justice. Instead, she set upon conducting her own social experiment. Loosely based on a concept by Canadian choreographer Noemie Lafrance, the designer got 25 models into a room – and without telling them they were taking part in an experiment – asked each to improvise a dance to the music. Once they settled on their best moves, the models were to loop them, until they saw one of their fellow groovers dancing better than them, where then, they were encouraged to copy accordingly.

Shy two-steps and awkward arm-waves came encased in glorious shades of pink, yellow, purple and pistachio green, as models donned padded jackets, patchworked jeans and graphic knitwear. Moving more into womenswear, Farzaneh envisioned chocolate-brown trousers with an apron fastening, puffa skirts and both dresses and headscarves stamped with her signature paisley patterns.

The aim was to have everyone doing the same dance move by the end of it, and despite a few slow coaches here and there, eventually, each person was flinging their legs from side to side. Speaking to WWD, Farazaneh expressed that she wished people would’ve questioned what was going on, or even blankly refused to take part altogether. Still, this group may have been sheep in following authoritative commands, but at least they looked great doing so, hey?

Photography by Oscar Foster-Kane.