It was a cold and rainy night in an industrial wasteland in Paris: in other words, the perfect setting for a buzzy streetwear label to stage a fashion show. Benjamin Alexander Huseby and Serhat Isik showed their fall lineup for GmbH at L’Aérosol, a street art center located in a former railway shed that shouted grimy cool.
The Berlin-based collective they cofounded took its exploration of cultural cross-pollination in a tougher direction this season, exploring the notion of protection with looks ranging from chainmail tops and reinforced biker jackets to pinch-waisted suits that emphasized broad shoulders.
Chunky patchwork knit sweaters nodded to Huseby’s Norwegian heritage, while Isik’s parentage shone through in wide-cut pants featuring geometric embroideries inspired by the kisbet trousers worn by Turkish oil wrestlers.
Emblazoned across the back was the phrase “My Beauty Offends You” — the title of the show — borrowed from a song by Fatima Al Qadiri that challenges traditional notions of gender identity. It made for a complex brew rich in sociological readings.
“Last season was quite optimistic and utopian, looking at our fathers. With this one, we felt it was getting more aggressive and dark,” Huseby said. “The time we’re living kind of feels a bit like modern Dark Ages, so we’re thinking really about, ‘OK, how do we protect ourselves? How do we create our army?’”
Hence the bulky tucked-in tops and roomy pants that appeared to have sprung straight out of Nineties clubland. But this army also has room for rogue elements: the GmbH man is equally comfortable stepping out in a zipped denim jacket, glossy black pants and high-heeled boots.