One of the fundamental reasons for the London Collections: Men announcement is the fierce competition that exists between the menswear design talent of the capital for a showing space on Menswear Day. For AW12, Omar Kashoura narrowly missed out on an schedule place so has opted to present his collection on the evening before the craziness begins. A wise move and his choice to present his Beat movement inspired collection in the relaxed setting of Kettner's will provide a welcome easing in to the season.
For me, Kashoura is one of a few unsung heroes. Away from the fanfare and squint inducing spotlight, his collections always showcase his immense tailoring talent, ability at sourcing the very best technology rich fabrics and keen attention to detail. For SS12, there was an interesting play of contrasts between hyper masculinity and a relaxed elegance that was rooted in the social movements of the 60s and 70s. In the accompanying post we were particularly drawn to his moodboards which Kashoura confessed were "rather full....bursting with energy" before continuing, "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!" It was during this period of research that led the design talent on to the inspiration behind his offering for AW12. Last night we dropped in to the hive of activity that is his East London studio to talk through his methods and to take a close look at his latest sprawling mood board...
"Last season was all about the freedom of the 60s and 70s and the developing social rights movements, as I was researching that I kept coming across the Beat movement. For me, the research process is so important , I like to go on a journey with each collection and learn from it. So, as I was researching for SS12, I knew that I wanted to go back further. Also, it's funny how often that when you're reading up on something, moments in your life and so much of what is going on around you connect to it. My research always begins with movies. For me, film offers the most inspiration points because it's only in this medium that a man can truly be that character. In real life, we can't quite be the character that we might aspire to be, we can't quite wear the full look but in the movies you can. From film comes literature. I'm such a good customer to Amazon, every season I buy so many films and books from them.
One of the most inspiring films that I watched was Alex Gibney's 'Magic Trip'. It documented Ken Kesey, Neil Cassady and others embarking on a acid fuelled cross country road trip in a mini bus. It just captured the period of LSD perfectly. One of the things that inspired the graphics of this season was this period of experimentation, a combination of white bands representing the verbal purity that came from them against this acid backdrop. There's all that going on inside but the Beats of that period actually looked pretty drab, the styling of the show will play off this combination…"
From a series of film stills, modern day street style shots, artwork and a selection of succinct phrases, Kashoura's studio has been engulfed by this shimmering wall of inspirations. A true celebration of Beat..
A selection of scans and Beat inspired curiosities that played a part in shaping AW12
"We are presenting the collection on the eve of Menswear Day because I didn't want to compete with that busy schedule. With my presentations, I've always had to show my mark more and I do enjoy it. For this season, we are presenting it at Kettner's in the evening and it will capture the spirit of the collection. It is going to be dimly lit, there will be tobacco smells, a poet, whisky served in coffee mugs. Six guys, showing a total of twelve looks in a really casual and fun environment." Omar Kashoura
When we last spoke with the designer, Kashoura remarked that since its inception, his eponymous line has evolved, "slowly, beautifully and strongly." I'm quite sure that we will see the considered continued evolution of Omar Kashoura at Kettner's on Tuesday evening..