Thursday 22 September 2011

Satyenkumar SS12

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Satyenkumar is a designer who has always quietly gone about his business of creating quality tailored causal wear for us modern eccentric English playboys. After graduating with an MA from Central Saint Martins and honing his craft with Versace and Ashish, the design talent decided to go it alone for AW06. Having long admired his work from afar, it was not until I took my seat at his SS10 show, Reflection through a lens, that my eyes were really opened to the designer. In a season where so many designers delivered a surprisingly dark, industrial, almost sombre colour palette, Satyen dazzled with his kaleidoscopic travel through a lens. It might have been a typical September afternoon in London but examining Satyen's colourful craftsmanship transported me to an Ibiza beach at sunset. Seemingly weightless outwear, jean inspired trousers and pyjama shorts, sheer/dense mix shirts, rainbow patch worked vests and featherlight unlined blazers in Swiss Voile, Habotai and Tulle. A true celebration of colour and lightweight tailoring. I was hooked. However, this addict was only treated to one more season before the designer took a couple of seasons out. Despite not being the loudest of designers, his absence was noticed. Thankfully, Satyenkumar makes his welcome return for SS12 and I can exclusively offer the first glimpse of it.

Satyenkumar customarily begins his design process with a character and for SS12 he looked to the British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared in 1925 during an expedition to uncover Z. "The collection was actually pre-visioned last Summer. It was inspired by David Grann's 'The Lost City of Zed'. I found this book over a year ago, just before I began to think about last summer and then of course I decided to take some time out. I still kept the book in my mind and still thought it relevant for this collection." Inspired by this tale, Satyen wanted to do something that was even more detailed than previous seasons, playing with military, adding more layers and pushing himself. "I have always done tailoring but wanted to move my aesthetic forward." SS12 certainly marks the return of an evolved Satyenkumar.

Building on the character of the lost explorer and having had the book playing on his creative mind for some time, Satyen turned to his obsession with murano glass which then led him to marbles. Everything clicked in to place. "The idea of losing your marbles and Percy Fawcett in the Amazon, going with the intent of exploring but then becoming trapped within the craziness, colour and tropics." The prints developed from this mental state and follow the process of losing your mind. "It is fantasy that is grounded in real clothing which dictated this idea of print, colour, detail and contrasting. A lot of my pieces tend not to be 100% one fabric but there's often a twist where two fabrications are used or a poppy colour has been changed to alter the silhouette for example a more military piece can be transformed by a flash of royal blue or coral." The collection takes the observer through the imagined phiscal and mental journey of Fawcett. The darker side of the collection was inspired by the idea of this character having to integrate in to his environment, this takes you in to the more subdued, black monochrome pieces. However, despite the strong literary influence this is not a theme collection. It is grounded in style and the beauty of menswear in general. Satyen teamed up with long term stylist Jason Hughes to help bring the collection to life in the look book. Rather than wax lyrical about the collection, allow me to do the polite thing and share it with you...

Exclusive SS12 look book shots courtesy of Satyenkumar.

As ever with Satyen, the SS12 collection showcases exquisite, timeless tailoring and modern hybrid classics in an assortment of fabrics that long to be touched and prints that daze and hypnotise. For me, the piece that provides the best summation of Satyenkumar as a designer are the tailored combats. "They are a tailored trouser with combat pockets. When you put them on, they feel nothing like a combat pant. They've gone to another level." However, the designer has challenged himself throughout but it is in the outerwear where we see just how far he has  pushed and evolved. The denim trench with twill, the belted suiting,  the multi pocketed bomber jacket in printed silk. Throughout, Satyen wants the looks to feel relaxed in places and restricted in others. The combination of these two elements is ever present.

Having bounced my way across the capital yesterday and seen countless SS12 collections as part of LFW, I have to confess that few left me as excited as this one. The return of Satyenkumar is a welcome one. Having been away from the spotlight for a couple of seasons now is Satyen's time to shine. The recovering menswear addict has a new hit. 


David Watts said...

Satyenkumar S/S12 is a treat and I am certainly hoping to get this man into the zone as he deserves to be noticed. Great menswear, well made in the UK.

Dan said...

Cracking collection and lovely write up.

Karro said...

Great picks!

I retweeted it because i hope some guys will find it interesting :)

best wishes,

Duck said...

The crazy colourful shorts! Yes, please...


cociolph said...

Some nice ideas here, though I think cargo pockets look silly on slim-cut pants (not that I like them anywhere else). And I would be happy never to see camo in men's wear again.

cociolph said...

Also, why only one footwear choice for the whole collection? a Nike velcro sandal?!

Mary said...

My cousin who lives in L. A. loves to buy this stuff and send it to my uncles as his christmas gift. Actually wearing this kind of suit is not banned in our country.


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