A month has passed since Menswear Day and still so much remains to say. One of the collections that was somewhat overshadowed by others on the day itself which deserves far greater attention was Omar Kashoura's Love Store - Store Love. With such a packed schedule, it was a real shame that I only had a few moments to really whizz around the LFW presentation space. However, fortunately for me, I had already had the opportunity to inspect and chat through Kashoura's wardrobe of sartorial nonchalance during London Showrooms Men in Paris.
Now, as you should all know by now, Kashoura's collections never fail to showcase his tailoring talent, ability at sourcing the very best technology rich fabrics and keen attention to detail. For SS12, there is an interesting play of contrasts between hyper masculinity and a relaxed elegance. Inspired by Bruce Nauman’s messages in neo signs and Woodstock, the collection evokes the coming together of strikers and society in the liberation of the 60 and 70’s yet still feels undeniably modern. Looking to Woodstock, Kashoura gives a nod to a more harmonious time of acceptance and freedom across all genres within society. Playing on this theme, the overriding feel of the collection is ease and comfort; a relaxed elegance and a softer silhouette throughout. Shirting is ultra fine and loose fit, in lightweight plain and striped Italian cottons. Dropped shoulders are a key feature, combined with abstract prints developed from a photograph of light movement from Waltzer's at the fair. Kashoura also presents ‘Love Store – Store Love’, a seasonal exclusive graphic print crafted in bronze and aqua, inspired by Bruce Nauman’s messages in neon signs in Pigalle, Paris. It is a stunning evolution from previous seasons. To learn more about the inspirations behind the collection and to hear all about the designer's exciting year ahead we sat down with the flourishing talent...
SS: The collection evokes the liberation movements of the 60s and 70s. What was the starting point point, what drew you to this era?
Omar Kashoura: It was really a continuation from our collection for Fall; contrasting the current status of today’s society that stands for oneself, over my idealised one, a society that comes together to support one another. I wanted to look to a time when this was prevalent which led me to the late 60’s and early 70’s.
SS: What did your mood board look like for SS12?
Omar Kashoura: Rather full....bursting with energy. I love the time when it comes to putting up my new wallpaper!. Each season I will strategically cover the walls with new images which remain there for a good three months at a time! (Ive attached some examples for you to the email)
I was heavily influenced this season by the contrast between the Woodstock festival and the riots of Christopher’s Street in New York. A period when the Vietnam war was in motion and artists like Bruce Nauman were creating communicative and provocative messages in Neon Signs, which is where our title Love Store and key print for the season was derived. Love Store is a neon sign print taken from a shop front in Pigalle, we printed it in this amazing copper colour which looked great on the catwalk.
SS: Was there a particular a Kashoura man/muse for the collection?
Omar Kashoura: Rather more an image of, than one particular man. We are growing excited by the look in particular of the model Harry Goodwin. He is perfect for our brand and I am excited to see his developments as he matures. We have worked with him now for the last two seasons. That said inspiration within the design did come from Jimmy Hendrix and John Lennon.
SS: How did these influences evolve in to the collection we see today?
Omar Kashoura: We developed new silhouettes this season, contrasting hyper masculinity, super sculpted jerseys, shirting and tailoring with fluidity and freedom. This is seen in the types of cloth used and the cut of the pieces with lowered shoulders and loose fits, with draped details.
We developed a super cool print which captured the light movement from the waltzers in a fun fair and manipulated it into a fresh 70esque design that we showed in a copper and a mint colour option.
SS: How would you describe the collection in your own words?
Omar Kashoura: Sartorial Nonchalance!!!
SS: What are you most proud of or pleased with from the collection?
Actually Id have to say the belts and accessories were super amazing this season. The wrongness of the crocodile skin, finished with gold hard wear lended itself so well to the collection. You must get one!.
SS: You showed the collection with a runway show in Barcelona, as part of the London showrooms in Paris and a presentation at LFW during Menswear Day. How were these experiences and how has the reaction been?
The show we did this season was our biggest to date and an amazing opportunity to be involved with such great models and to show in the most perfect location. Being involved with so many avenues is great for us and shows that as a brand we are respected on an International level. The reaction has been positive. We are developing well and moving in the right direction.
Conquering Barcelona. Show images courtesy of Barcelona O80.
SS: How has Omar Kashoura, the label, evolved since its inception?
Omar Kashoura: Slowly, beautifully and strongly.
SS: Finally, what's next for Omar Kashoura? What would you like to achieve in 2012 and beyond?
Omar Kashoura: The launch of our LENS collection for Topman. Oh and we are are in talks with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to develop a collective exhibition focused on design for the coming future.....!! 2012 is going to see big changes for the brand, and for myself personally too...I read it in my stars!
Collections images from Omar Kashoura's presentation during LFW.
With each passing season it is obvious that Omar Kashoura's design talent is maturing in to a covetable label. As it grows in confidence and prominence I'm sure that it will have a greater stage during London Fashion Week. However, London's loss this year was Barcelona's gain. As mentioned above, in addition to showing off the collection in Paris and London, Kashoura was invited to show at Barcelona 080. Now, if you need to see more of the collection than my excitedly snapped presentation shots allow then please do watch the video show below...