After almost two years of digital presentations, GmbH designers Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik were eager to return to the runway. But with COVID-19 still raging in Europe, they limited their audience to just eight guests.
The resulting film splices runway footage with smartphone images shot by those in attendance, bringing back some of the energy of a live event.
The collection, titled “Talisman,” encapsulated the themes dear to the multicultural duo, who this season focused on the codes of formal and religious dressing, inspired by Friday visits to the mosque.
Huseby and Isik reflected the conflicting feelings of growing up gay and Muslim, with a mix of sharp tailoring and flamboyant elements borrowed from vintage haute couture. “For us, it’s in no way a critique of a religion or trying to subvert anyone’s beliefs. It’s a very personal exploration of experiences and spirituality,” Huseby said.
Oversize double-breasted suits, fastened with a single button, were worn with knitted skull caps. Substitute the trousers for thigh-high boots, and the boxy jackets took on the kinky allure of a minidress.
French couturier Jacques Fath’s midcentury creations influenced sweeping coats with exaggerated synthetic fur collars and cuffs, and sculptural tops with raised necklines and exposed backs. Silk pajama separates were printed with Arabic calligraphy spelling out affirmations such as “Safe from harm.”
“GmbH has always been about using fashion as a shield of protection in some ways,” said Isik, who sees their work as a beacon for queer youths. This bold lineup radiated pride and confidence, inviting wearers to go forth and prosper.