The lights go down. The chatter ceases instantaneously. Silence.
Suddenly the rhythmic sound of steps breaks the still. A woman with a voluminous mane of titian red curls and a long camel coat paces the runway, slowly. She’s wearing tip-tap shoes. As her silhouette disappears, silence lingers a little longer.
Music fills the room as if it had broken through an imaginary dam, flooding the air with its flashy beats. One after the other, barefoot, the models stride down the runway.
Well, somebody here knows how to make an entrance. Sartorial Monk’s combined men’s and women’s AW 18/19 show, titled ‘Silence’, was displayed in an open-space, industrial looking hangar during Milan Fashion Week. Watching the hard, grey matter of the surrounding walls and ceiling in paradox combination with the fluid lines of Sabato Russo’s creations, I caught myself thinking ‘how must water feel inside a tank?’
Neo contemporary minimalism and Japanese tradition blend seamlessly in this almost gender neutral collection. Clean, essential, yet never monotonous. Once again, this season high-quality Italian fabrics play the supporting role to a foreign-inspired design protagonist. Cashmere, flannel, liquid-looking froissés silk velvet, printed silk velvet devorés, and spongy wool mousse worked into designs with a clear Oriental flavour.
The colours, shiny blacks, bright splashes of silver, and warm dashes of burgundy, like the reflection of dusk, sunset and nightfall on the surface of water. The textures, glossy and silky, substantial and solid, grainy and frothy, velvety and rich, often the sole decorative element. The volumes, ‘measured to the last centimetre of cloth, wrap and involve the body without constraint’, without ever denying its presence, perceivable form underneath the thickest fabrics. Each garment underpinned by a perceptible balance. The details are whispered, underplayed, sometimes as subtle as a bas-relief.
Sartorial Monk’s approach to tailoring is sensual, essential, and decidedly unisex. Plunging necklines, mandarin collars, oversized hoods, one piece knits that hug the entire figure, classic suits and dressing gowns interchange for both him and her equally. The very same outfit works for both genders, emblem of a duality that becomes unity, a parallelism that is, in fact, convergence.
Fluid, sophisticated, pure, elemental. The designs are so linear, one could almost believe they had been outlined with one single gesture.
An official statement from reads, ‘Sartorial Monk rediscovered in an original textile synthesis the greatness of simplicity, apparent simplicity’, to create an ‘aesthetics where the absence is not absence but rather substance’.
In one word, sartorial zen.