This story first appeared in the June 16, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.


A look from Poan  Courtesy Photo

Georg Weissacher had a strong men’s wear background when he founded POAN in 2015.

The Austrian designer, who was the former head of men’s wear at Vivienne Westwood and who lives in London, said the brand’s name stands for “Peoples of All Nations.” As such, the label takes a multicultural approach, and every season focuses on a distinctive theme involving all mankind.

Describing his method as “holistic,” Weissacher said he tends to approach the development of his collections by using many art forms, everything from cinema and music to literature and architecture.

This results in an eclectic, versatile collection created in the area around Florence and defined by a modern take on tailoring that combines, in the same garment, knitted and woven elements crafted from the same fibers.

By calling his spring 2018 collection, which will be shown in Milan on June 18, “Le Phénomène humain,” Weissacher paid homage to the namesake philosophy and theology book written by Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1955.

“I stole this volume when I was 20 from a monastery’s library,” said the designer, explaining that the book focuses on Teilhard de Chardin’s idea that evolution is a complex process.

Weissacher also said the collection was influenced by Paolo Sorrentino’s TV series “The Young Pope.”

“Expect organic-inspired prints with natural colors juxtaposed with technical patterns,” said Weissacher, adding that organic overdyed pieces with a loose fit will be shown next to futuristic outfits. They will include a “space suit” crafted from transparent plastic that will contrast with comfortable wool and cotton jackets with knitted inserts and drop-crotch pants.

The lineup, which will feature a color palette of wood, sky blue and asphalt gray with neon green touches, will include a denim capsule collection.

In keeping with POAN’s sustainable approach, the bags and shoes are crafted from horsehair instead of leather.

Positioned as a luxury label, the brand’s shoes start at 370 euros, or $414, and go up to 500 euros, or $560, while suits retail at about 1,500 euros, or $1,681. — Alessandra Turra



A look from Gcds.  Courtesy Photo

Italian fashion brand GCDS — the acronym for “God Can’t Destroy Streetwear” — was founded in 2015 by brothers Giuliano and Giordano Calza.

The former is the creative mind behind the label, while the latter manages the business and financial side.

“We launched as a digital project offering a limited range of products including sweatshirts, T-shirts and socks, all embellished with our logo,” said Giuliano Calza. “We immediately started getting a lot of requests from press and influencers and suddenly GCDS became a hip brand.”

Calza revealed that the first season the men’s collection was sold at Milan’s Marcona 3 showroom, the brand generated sales of 700,000 euros, or $785,000.

“And in our fifth season, we sold 5 million euros [$5.6 million],” said the designer, highlighting the quick growth of the label, which is gearing up to unveil its latest spring men’s collection with a runway show on June 19 in Milan.

Calza said the show will be inspired by a lake theme and feature fishing and nautical references. “There will be something gloomy about the show,” he said, adding that a lot of black is juxtaposed with colorful blocks and embossed graphics.

Functional pieces, including windbreakers and cargo pants, are crafted from technical fabrics, while knitwear includes lightweight cotton jacquard sweaters with zippers.

Embellishments and prints, including a striped pattern and a motif of multicolored fish, give a rich touch to the lineup.

On the catwalk, GCDS will unveil a capsule collection developed with an undisclosed “famous sportswear label,” as Calza said, along with an eyewear range produced in collaboration with Pawaka.

The collection, which is positioned in the contemporary segment of the market, offers outerwear from 400 euros, or $449, to 600 euros, or $673. Sweatshirts and shoes retail at about 180 euros, or $202, and 250 euros, or $280, respectively. — A.T.

Munsoo Kwon

Munsoo Kwon

A look from Munsoo Kwon.  Courtesy Photo

Munsoo Kwon is gearing up for his first show in Milan on June 18, but it’s not just another show for the Korean designer. Kwon was handpicked by Giorgio Armani to present his spring collection at Armani’s namesake Teatro venue in Milan.

Kwon said the collection he will show is titled “You Only Live Once,” or “YOLO,” and was inspired by the concept of individualism, as well as the rise of the single-person household.

“There’s a culture rising in Korea, that of the ‘loner’ [lifestyle]. This is someone who lives alone, and eats meals alone,” said Kwon at his brand headquarters in Seoul. And in fact, many young Koreans now refer to themselves as “honjok,” or use the term “honbap” which means “loner” and “dinner for one,” he explained.

This is a reflection of the socio-economic climate, Kwon believes. “These days, the Korean economy is really bad and it’s hard to get married because in Korea you need a lot of money to get married.

“These [loners] live alone, but it’s not a lonely thing,” he added. “They enjoy their lives, spend money and travel, and concentrate more on themselves rather than on [building] a family.”

Kwon’s collections are often informed by lifestyle concepts and popular youth trends such as this. His runway shows presented ideas ranging from the golden age of K-pop idols to the folk-infused nostalgia of the Seventies anti-Vietnam war resistance movement in San Francisco. His fall 2017 collection, presented at Seoul Fashion Week, was based off of “Rumspringa,” a crucial rite of passage for Amish youth.

Kwon said his upcoming spring show will offer a “seamless blend” of office-meets-resort looks. The ready-to-wear collection will feature deep-neck shirts, pinstriped outerwear and denim pants in bright and muted hues, as well as floral patterns, camouflage and stripes. The retail price for these pieces will range from 1,100 euros, or $1,233, for a pair of pants, to 2,050 euros, or $2,299, for a coat.

Presenting at Milan Men’s Fashion Week is a dream come true for Kwon. “When I started working in fashion design, my dream was to become a men’s wear designer who did fashion shows in the three major cities: New York, Milan and Paris,” he said.

Kwon, who has presented most of his collections in South Korea over the past few years, said he hopes South Korean designers will get more exposure. “Korean fashion is very trendy and wearable, and talented — but nobody knows. With New York, Milan, Paris, even London fashion weeks, everybody is watching. But not with Seoul Fashion Week.”

With the increasing popularity of K-pop and K-beauty, Kwon hopes “K-fashion” will also one day make its mark. “Maybe it can start with me, or with other designers like Juun J, Wooyoungmi and Dgnak. It’s going to take time to [develop Korean fashion], but someday I hope.” — Crystal Tai

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