Today’s Pieter show offered something of a palette cleanser. In a sea of neons, crazy knits, patchworks, patterns and street style peacocking, clothing that looks at first glance, well, normal can surprise and jar. It’s strange that in the once conservative, rule-obsessed world of menswear a collection with roots in tailoring that also prioritises fabrication quality, fit and form can surprise more than a one full of bells and whistles. But Pieter, the label of LCF grad Sebastiaan Pieter, offers perverse, twisted reality. His collection felt instantly accessible (after all, he’s offering largely ‘commercial’ pieces - great bombers, crisp shirting and sporty tailoring) but on closer inspection was full of veiled messages and naughty subversive details, from two-way zippers running from chest to crotch to unexpected cutouts, that speak to those really looking or in-the-know. The trick is in how he employs his messages lightly and subtly - they’re more powerful because they're not obvious. It’s all about the sexiness of mystery. Like a quiet glance across a bar or a stolen smile on the tube, his work is suggestive. It lets the imagination run wild. In an age of instant, fast fashion, that’s precious.
As if to prove his skill at making even the most obvious references seem subtle and smart, he’d focused on two of the cliches of punkish, irreverent dressing - tattoos and piercings. He wasn’t interested in their rebellious associations, rather the way so many people employ such generic, ubiquitous symbols as a means of expressing ‘personal’ identity. That irony underpinned the tribal tattoos that snaked up the arms of knits and sweaters and the hammered silver rings - Pieter’s second collaboration with jeweller Husam Elodeh - that pierced the sleeves of jackets and the seams of trousers.
In such a bustling, busy world as fashion, where sometimes it feels like you have to scream to be heard, one hopes due attention is paid to Pieter and the interesting creative world he’s building around him through collaboration (Devon Blair offered a film, while the installation was the brainchild of artist Prem Sahib). This season marks his first collection with NEWGEN sponsorship - London is taking note, if his collections continue at this standard others will surely follow.