On the opening night of the Reykjavik Fashion Festival back in April, Sruli Recht managed to blow me away with the debut of his full menswear collection. As a live drummer provided the percussion pulse, Recht's men casually paraded a collection of carefully crafted draped pieces that echoed the rawness of the Icelandic landscape. The Sruli Recht studio is a cross-discipline practice caught somewhere between product design, tailoring and shoe making and it all came together so eloquently for that collection. As with everything Recht had created before, the collection was completely intuitive and free whilst still being very dimensional and formed. A few months on and in Paris, I was able to examine and marvel over his sophomore collection, Cast By Shadows.
As in his debut collection, the design talent looks to his adopted home of Iceland for inspiration and everything in the collection is in fact made in the country. In Recht's own words “this collection is based on the view from my window: water, mountains, mist.” Having visited Reykjavik myself it comes as little surprise that the ever changing landscape and shifting hues of the sky was such an inspiration here. It is quite simply achingly beautiful and once again the look book imagery of Marinó Thorlacius captures it all. When he sent the lookbook through this morning, the ever modest Recht informed me that at one stage during his time at the Paris showroom, people were coming to just see the look book as they had heard so much about it.
Before I let you see the collection, I have to tell you a little about it. In Cast by Shadows, Recht is once again driven by fabric, form and function. This season the design talent employs a global selection of cottons, linens, silks and timber which are complimented by Icelandic reindeer skin and horse skin. All of the buttons are made from metal alloy rods, drop-cast in the studio, and blackened. However, it is the shark skin from the Icelandic basking shark which is the real highlight material invented for this collection. Below, Recht recounts the story behind it...
"One day outside my studio I saw a flatbed truck driving past, and on that truck a pile of wet glistening somethings. My brain said it was fishing nets... but that sharp little voice at the back of my neck disagreed: "That there pile was once alive. Chase it. Chase it down." And into my car I got, and followed that truck till it stopped. And on it? Five, reaking collosal beasts, brown, wet and far beyond dead. "To where will these sharks go?" I asked. "West," said the driver, "to the plants where they become oil and meat." Procuring the recipient’s number, I dialed and requested slithers of its mic-rose thorn skin to be sent to the Tanner in the North, for whom the impossible is but a days work. Twelve days later, in a relatively anonimous white cardboard box we received from his skilled blades a new first — basking shark (or shark skin, or whatever name you want to give it), and by far not the last first, from his skilled blades, baths and alchemical knowhow. See it, smell it, but recoil from its iron maiden touch... for the skin of the shark is more dangerous than its bite."
The collection itself consists of a total look, from coats, jackets and cardigans, to trousers, shorts and leggings, complimented by sandals, eye-frames, bags, hats, gloves and silver jewellery. There are forty two styles in all, approximately one hundred with the myriad of material variations available. Recht is able to summarise the collection in three words; draped, refined, digital. Now over to Marinó Thorlacius's photography...
Photographer - Marinó Thorlacius
Models - Emil Þór Guðmundsson, Helgi Hjörvar
Stylist - Megan Herbert