As invitees entered the East London warehouse space for A-COLD-WALL*’s SS19 show, they were greeted with a vacuum-sealed pack of safety goggles, ear plugs and a ventilation mask.
It was an indication that, after being finalised for the prestigious LVMH prize in Paris, Samuel Ross’ brand was stepping up a gear and accelerating into heightened levels of production.
The collection was titled ‘Human. Form. Structure’, and all three concepts were examined in different ways throughout the show. Prior to any clothes, the first look on the runway was a squad of clayed-up, hooded figures who moved as one.
These haunting figures would continue to disappear and re-emerge throughout the show. They soon began carrying models encased in the kind of mathematical, architectural shapes that are now synonymous with A-COLD-WALL*’s visual language.
Pants were a highlight of the collection, being imbued with raised pads at the calf, and loose fabrics running asymmetrically up the leg. SS19 also introduced a new color palette — oxblood, pink, yellow, crimson and silvered blue — elevating the otherwise monochrome A-COLD-WALL* aesthetic. These new colors reveal how the brand is beginning to introduce warmth and emotion into hues that are typically associated with unremarkable urban environments. This idea of A-COLD-WALL* expanding on its brutalist sensibilities was symbolized in the final few minutes.
At the end of the show, a large box appeared on the runway, before being quickly decimated by A-COLD-WALL*’s army of clayed-up anonymous figures. A squirming and naked man, covered in red fluid slid around on the floor like he has just been born. It appears that A-COLD-WALL*, in spite of its stony and brutalist leanings, is starting to find its humanity. It’s pretty dark and we’re totally here for it.