Dear Shaded Viewers and Diane,
“It used to be a gay club” the cabbie had said, and on the off-chance I might have missed it once we got there, I’m well aware that they’re never wrong. Industrial enough to make your teeth tremble, the KTZ venue for spring 2016 was a dungeon in Southbank that caters in particular, so says to their website, to Bears, Cubs and Chubs. On the inside on Sunday night though, there were clean-shaven models dressed up in waxy rubber, pellucid layers of plastic and coated nylons with bonded and lacquered seams who urgently made their way through a labyrinthine pathway, caged – or was it the audience? – by high steel fencing from which we peeked in. It was Metropolis II by Chris Burden, whom you’ll remember for his legendary Shoot performance in 1971, on show at LACMA in Los Angeles that inspired Marjan Pejoski this season: the kinetic model of a hustling imaginary city, in which 1100 miniature toy cars drive by. As the glazed workwear silhouettes and gummy cagoules fastened with poppers led the way for simpler shapes and more unusual textures, such as treated cardboard and crumpled tinfoil, towards a grand finale with dismantled racing gear and billowing parachutes, the thematic combo of speed and ingenuity was persuasive as much as it was clear. A match that could, and has, easily lent itself to dystopic thoughts – Burden himself after all quotes Fritz Lang – turns this time into potential instead. Echoes of the original Metropolis could perhaps be glimpsed in a faded newspaper print, a pipe wrench pendant or the reflective surfaces that quivered under the neon lights: those were the special effects of the 1920s, when a game of mirrors allowed for the actors to inhabit a city in miniature. But in the end, it’s a sense of positive energy, of force mastered through imagination, resourcefulness, and recycling, that prevails in this KTZ menswear collection – you may not know it yet, but in summer 2016 the future already looks brighter.