AIREI SS23 - Paris Men’s Fashion Week
Presented during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, AIREI S/S ’23 was again show as part of Dover Street Market Paris – Comme des Garcons’ umbrella organization created to nurture and support creative talent. The Los Angeles-based brand, designed by Drew Curry, revealed his newest collection after being included as a LVMH Prize Semifinalist at 3537 with an installation on June 21st.
Drew Curry’s use of threads in his brand AIREI has both literal and abstract meaning. For his fourth collection, Sunflower Gardens, encompasses the balance between protection and fragility. Named after the designer's home years ago on a sojourn to Kolkata (Calcutta) India, it strives to conjure the picture of leaving the confines to experience the chaos and adventure of life beyond. Durable and fragile materials recreate in our garments the essence of this struggle. This season's installation is a direct reference to Mother Teresa’s Nirmal Hriday “home of the dying destitutes” ; those without a home or living on the street are sheltered and cared for to provide digitinity in their last days. Curry is inviting the viewers into his experience volunteering at Nirmal Hriday, where he experienced a life defining shift of perception in the realm of life and death. Throughout the space, “The Awakening of the Fountain”, a poem written on the streets of Sudder street by Rabindranath Tagore is stitched onto blankets. For SS23, there is a continued sense of workwear and participation where the wearer is a part of the story of the garment. The collection begins with the signature “chore” styles that are newly covered with two layers of Khadi gauze, the gauze overtime will be ripped open to access pockets and will continue to decompose as the wearer lives in the pieces. Still experimenting with traditional Indian materials, this season welcomes Khadi silk referencing Kurta Pajama - the most popular style of pants in Kolkata. The culturally significant color Saffron makes its debut for this collection, where pieces are dyed with the actual plant. Ghost stitching comes back with “DESTINY” being the word of the season. Drew explores two new threading concepts of memory stitching (drawing pictures with individual threads) and protection stitching (cocooning oneself). Kantha blankets are again used and have been made by the same community in Kolkata, further deepening the relationship between traditional artisans and the evolution of AIREI’s themes and materials For the last look, AIREI SS23 ends with the same silhouette as the first look however the garments are in tatters illuminating how the human experience is a balance between a desire for safety and certainty and a yearning for greater adventure.