Written by Israel Mejia
Walking into Linder’s Fall/Winter 18 presentation on the third floor of The Standard Hotel, you are immediately greeted with an odd sight, the back end of a large vinyl military grade tent. Is this a sarcastic appropriation of New York Fashion Weeks of the past that were held in tents? The warm wood walls in the room are draped with beautiful imagery of young men who seem to be wounded and lying in medical tents, which are tintypes shot by Driely Carter, but lead you to believe they were straight out of a Civil War history textbook. Cleary, there seemed to be a strong visual direction Linder wants to take this season and it seemed to be working.
The latest anticipation of Linder’s Men’s collection is different than previous showings, this is the first time Kirk Linder independently designed the entire men’s line while leaving the upcoming women’s collection to Sam Linder. The gamble has paid off, as this collection is their strongest and most cohesive collection in recent memory. The clothes are filled with soft details, from intricately woven dog tags into the collar of shirts to newspaper print denim jackets. You get the sense that Linder made the decision to show a literal interpretation of what masculinity means to him. At the same time, he shows bring pink colored jackets along with mesh shirts still reflecting the delicate fragile identity that the brand has been known to show.
Speaking to Miller, he explains the thought process behind his recent collection, as to why you should look closely at the dog tags in the shirts as they just might reveal a small detail not easily visible to the naked eye.
IM: How did both Sam and you make the decision to design indecently each collection?
KM: I think it was very natural, Sam had been talking about Women’s wear when we started. I think he was the one who was interested in kind of expanding into that. After we had down previous collection it just felt natural so I brought it up. It was mutual and he will have his own show this upcoming Friday.
IM: There seems to be a very military masculine aspect to this collection. What inspired this?
KM: The aesthetic had to do with forced masculinity growing up gay, I was kind of speaking to the idea of what that’s like – the idea of other people wanting you to be masculine.
IM: Did you see yourself when making this collection, more so a representation of who you are?
KM: A little bit but I never really have a “person”. for me it was more about the message in general and giving a loving message. Even being here in New York there are a lot of sensitive people and you have to toughen up and I think that is who this collection is for – sensitive people. Also if you look closely at the dog tags you can see that there are poems printed onto them – love poems, about the human body and neck.
With Linder presenting their men’s collection a few days ahead of their women’s show, anticipation was again at a high as this time around it would be Sam Linder who would be making his own solo debut as head designer for their women’s division.
With the showing taking place at St Marks Church in the East Village, it seemed Linder was pushing a definite theme this time around. Showcasing a mixture of plaid, leather and fringe gloves, it was apparent there was yet a masculine undertone keeping true to Linder’s beginnings. The girls were paired with exaggerated leather fringe driving gloves tightly clutching purses with handles resembling a bulls horn, emphasizing woman’s power and control. Twice they sent looks with models tightly holding in front of their stomach, purses that seemed to have a light up clear globe in the center almost being interpreted (at least by this reporter) the right securing of her womb.
Mixed in between the hard, clean silhouettes were also soft pops of long ankle length dresses in greens and blues with recalled the aerial view of oceans. Still, the house made sure to insert the placement of a leather belt tightly stitched onto the collar of a dress and at one point right up the center of a gown with the belt buckle sitting directly on top of the neck line.
Both Sam and Kirk individually proved that they design best when working independently on their own collections, and hopefully this is the beginning of a long, strong creative career for the house.
Photos by Andrew T. White