LCM: Maharishi SS'16

Published on http://wjlondon.com/lcm-maharishi-ss16/ for Who's Jack London

There was a strong sense of uniform and alliance in Maharishi’s SS’16 collection with models clad in caped hoods, draped robes and various head gear, yet despite the heavy military influence and frequent use of camouflage, Maharishi’s soldiers are not fighting for war, but for peace. Creative director and founder Hardy Blechman explained that “One of the strap lines we’ve used is pacifist military design and that is what its about for me. I’m heavily inspired by military clothing only because of its utilitarian nature, its hardware, its practical aspects, that’s one side of it. The other side of it is through the use of camouflage, which through deep research, comes from natural history developed by artist.” Taking a strongly identified pattern as camouflage, Maharishi’s collection have made the point of turning it into a beacon of peace. Blechman further explained that “It’s not really the domain of the military. Those two things coupled with the fact that there’s such an enormous surplus of military uniforms that allows for a great toolbox for recycling. All these things really draw me towards the military and their clothing so much so that I think its necessary for me to make it clear that I’m pacifist.”

For this collection, the influence in religious behaviour was particularly strong and reflected through the colours of the collection. Initially the collection began with hooded designs that were worn in head to toe white. Blechman referred to taking white, a colour strongly identified with themes of purity, as a ‘spiritual pureness’. The collection then moved into a burnt orange that was molded into caped and hooded robes that swayed along the catwalk. “The orange is the standard colour for a Thai Buddhist monk robe. It’s also the beacon colour within the US army so the reverse of a MA-1 flight jacket is the same bright orange that a Thai monk wears” Blechman said as he spoke about the incorporation of religious colour with the hard utilitarian shell of his designs. The bright colours contrasted against the camouflage colours of the military which helped to express the pacifist ideals that Blechman adamantly expresses. “Its more celebration of nature and no intention to hide.”

The collection moved on into dark purple tunics that took colour inspiration from the robes of Catholic popes and ended with a golden and green hooded pull over that had mesh detailing over the face. This tied the catholic ideals as well as the overall military influence of the collection,

The music was one of the highlights of the collection with several audience members agreeing that the mix of prayer chants and grime gave the pieces more context. “This season we worked closely with Richard Russell who has always had a deep love of grime and is well along his path of spiritual development. I think that kind of melanges in a way a great reflection of the collection” remarked Blechman.

One of the most notable pieces of the collection was a Go Pro, strapped to the head model clad in a loose button up top in the Thai Buddhist monk colour of orange. ” Despite the Go Pro being mainly used in society as a means of recording sport or any physical action, the use of it in Maharishi’s collection lies a deeper meaning “I’m hesitant to talk about it because I don’t want to be disrespectful in any way but as I’ve been studying these devotional or religious habits and uniforms for these past few months. One of the strongest looks is the Hasidic Jews and they happen to wear an item called a tefillin, that is a box worn strapped to the head, that I believe may contain a copy of some kind of prayer or blessing. There are amazing similarities between the look of the tefillin and the look of the Go Pro worn on the head. So it was with respect, another wink towards another detail of a devotional uniform.” Blechman said. A final nod to his sportswear aesthetic and fascination with religious behaviour.

As the models took a bow of prayer at the end of the catwalk, one could only think to have bowed for the work that Blechman had put into Maharishi’s SS’16 collection.

Words: Natalie Chui

Images: Carolyn Kang