Jacob Mallinson Bird (pictured, top) - male model, student and intern extraordinaire (and possibly a budding writer), provides an insider’s perspective to Robert Geller’s Spring Summer show in New York.
Walking around backstage, I felt almost as though I were committing treason. As models, our sole purpose is to most perfectly carry the designer’s vision down the runway. We’re walking clothes hangers. We’re meant to instill confidence with placating platitudes, not fear with endless critiques. A good friend of mine, when asked what he thought of a certain designer’s collection that he actually hated (I won’t name names… No T, no shade), replied that it really wasn’t his place to say, which it isn’t. And it’s not as though we only see the collection three hours before it hits the runway; we sit in studios as looks, hair and makeup are styled upon us, as collections come together. We’re invited into that inner sanctum; we get the privileged position of being onlookers towards a large part of the creative process. So as I rifled through the collection, feigning looking for my outfit, I felt as though I was almost betraying Robert’s trust. Thankfully, I loved the collection and, without a shred of politesse obligatoire, I can say that the following shining appraisal is wholly honest.
The atmosphere backstage reflected the surety of the collection. Shows are inevitably a hectic experience… It’s not unlikely that in any given show, no matter their eponymous standing, that you’ll see clothes being ripped off frantically, terrified PRs with headsets sprinting across the way, looks being cut, hair and makeup being done in the line up etc. By its very nature, a show is a stressful occasion. But the Robert Geller show had an air of relaxed ease. I minced in an hour late (it had been a heavy night the night before… Thank you Billy Reid - you certainly know how to throw a party) to find most of the models ready, reclining on sofas eating the divine backstage food (finally - I couldn’t handle any more backstage broccoli) and within half an hour I too was lounging with some sushi.
But the relaxation didn’t end there. The show was in a studio on the river, and on the roof there was a decked area with sunbeds, sofas, and a view across Manhattan with the Freedom tower in centre view. And if that wasn’t good enough, there was a womenswear show going on simultaneously so all the boys were able to flex and flirt before the show to their hearts’ content. It was perfect.
Undoubtedly the calm backstage was supported by a rightly placed confidence in the clothing. Spring/Summer menswear can often be a dangerous territory… It takes an innovative eye to break away from the shorts/t-shirt/light blazer combo that 80% of SS fashion is, and Geller masterfully achieved this. Layering leggings underneath shorts gave another dimension to what is really a relatively simple look. And underneath oversized tank tops were skintight net vests, giving subtle interest to a clean silhouette.
Geller once again showed his innovative style in this collection. Skintight striped shorts with knee panels created a unique silhouette. The neoprene material used draped and grouped in an interesting way, giving the shorts a silhouette similar to that of riding trousers or jodhpurs. This neoprene material was also used with turtleneck tops and sleeveless vests. Personally, I’ve loved neoprene ever since Raf Simons showed his neoprene sleeved suits in his AW 09/10 collection. But, that was AW and this is SS. I do wonder how comfortable neoprene would be in a New York summer, but, given how much I adored the vests, perhaps it could be an excuse for an incredibly chic scuba diving outfit - the glamour.
These striking silhouettes and fabrics are more ostentatious innovations, but a keen eye for detail added subtle nuances to the collection. Jacket collars were embellished with functionally otiose clasps and leather trousers had zipped detailing, noticeable only when up close.
The colour palette was oddly autumnal, yet reimagined for springtime. Rich purples were alongside deep blues, and orange toned mustards with khakis. Coupled with light greys and striped and dotted patterns, there was never a dull moment – an impressive feat when black can dominate almost any collection/wardrobe.
Taking the best from AW and reappropriating it for SS, Geller’s SS14 collection fused skilled tailoring, a youthful aesthetic, and innovation subtly and effectively.