The lastest lewks out of London are blowing up the runway. Emerging menswear designer Harikrishnan dropped his graduate collection at the London College of Fashion, sending an international coterie of models down the runway in inflatable trousers. The line paired cropped jackets with latex trousers and jumpsuits that created fitted forms on top and cartoonishly bellicose bottoms.
“I got the idea when I was playing with my dog and I started thinking about how exaggerated objects must look from such a low angle,” the designer told Dezeen. “The thought of him seeing me as a giant figure or not seeing my head at all was intriguing, so I decided to reimagine the people around me through the game of distortion — detached from the stereotypical, pre-determined notions of the human perspective.”
There is so much to like about these wacky silhouettes, whose clownish proportions are played up by stripy motifs in contrasting colors of green, red, and white. The looks are visually reminiscent of Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus ballet costumes, with their exaggerated proportions and color-blocked panels. They also carry the same vibe as Alexander Girard’s wooden doll collection — perhaps as an aesthetic byproduct of the intensive fabrication process training undertaken by Harikrishnan in Channapatna, India, which is also famous for wooden and lacquerware toys that surely would have appealed to Girard’s folk art interests. In addition to the intensively paneled latex works, which were laid out in 3D models and then sectioned into panel pieces, Harikrishnan’s collection incorporates garments of woven wooden beads, generating fit and flexibility from a material not typically associated as a garment base.
The result is an eye-catching and insanely whimsical runway show, entirely impractical for everyday wear (as the inflatables require an assistant to pump in air via a valve at the bottom) but perfect for someone who wants to dominate a red carpet while concealing their cankles. With refreshing originality, Harikrishnan has begged the question, why drop trou, when you can inflate it instead?