The notion of homecoming, particularly in a post-war context, informed Luke Meier’s approach at OAMC who looked to the experience of artists Joseph Beuys and Ellsworth Kelly.
The lineup was a metaphor for recovery, or at least a yearning for it. Glistening rubbery touches, including all-rubber molded boots, evoked the fat in which Beuys was purportedly wrapped for his recovery, while the artist’s signature felt featured heavily on outerwear.
But the possibility for it remained uncertain. Shapes implied remoteness, both by their quasi-monastic simplicity but also by the space they carved around the body. Cue minimalist coats that cocooned the wearer; great knit shawls emblazoned with Gesamtkunstwerk — German for the concept of “total artwork” — wrapped around the shoulders, and a roomy yellow coat, cut from a malleable yet moldable overdyed jersey. Quilted sleeveless housecoats in prints featuring wallpaper and paintings that hinted at long hours spent indoors staring at walls and wishing for escape — from the house or the thoughts?
Military clothing, say an M-65 field jacket, floated like ghosts in light organza atop civilian garments. It was at once a note to the WWII Ghost Army that Kelly was part of, and a reminder of the permanence of experiencing war. “[Returning to a normal life afterward] is not really that possible,” Meier concluded backstage.
Meier said he had meant this message in a “very hopeful” way, by tapping into the universal desire to go home and find comfort. Whether that is ever truly possible, or if his pared-back shapes express this clearly, remained a mystery.