With the relentless pace of the fashion conveyor belt and the incessant stomach rumbling for all things shiny and new, it is all too easy to praise a collection one minute and forget about it the next. There's little opportunity to reminisce. However, a few deserve to be rediscovered and cherished. For me, Mohsin Ali's accomplished debut offering for AW11 is such a collection. From the moment I encountered the sartorial innovation hanging on the rails inside The Showroom Next Door, I knew that I was in the company of a special collection. Throughout, Ali showcased a real love for both traditional and technical fabrics, deftly mixing both whilst experimenting with cut and silhouette. It was a pleasure to make its acquaintance and although seasons have passed, I've not forgotten it. Thanks to picking up a sample, I now have my own piece to wear.
For us, menswear is all about the details and Ali's AW11 collection had them in an abundance yet all were considered. It was clearly the work of a designer who believes in a clean aesthetic and all appliance should be justified. Design should be questioned and challenged at all times and only then can you produce and create something truly special.As the pulse of my eyeballs raced, Ali himself explained, "To the naked eye a product can be simple, only when you analyse and look closely do you see the really beauty, the real greatness. This is what interests me most about design." The collection was based around the concept of twenty first century explorers. Ali was drawn to the idea that the body has to be protected and realised the importance of layering, thermals and practicality.
"The collection is built around these ideas which is why some of the garments have built in thumb pieces (like mine), others have sheepskin liners, quilting and detachable liners. Additionally, I was intrigued by the idea that the less you carry the easier it is to travel. My interpretation of this was to apply less and integrate more. Everything is integral. Piece by piece, everything is cut in and we've done this through the shirting, trousers and outerwear so everything is flat and streamlined."
Mohsin Ali on the inspiration for his debut
With its mix of the traditional and the technical, jersey and cotton shirting fabrics...and who could overlook the built in thumb piece and arm warmer, the below shirt is the perfect wardrobe memento to help me continue to cherish the debut...