The sexual energy at LCM is palpable. From Christopher Shannon to Sibling, the fetishisation of the male form feels rather unrestrained for KTZ Spring/Summer 16. Set in XXL, the dungeon gay club in Southwark, KTZ certainly took the baton and ran with it. Although, as Creative Director Marjan Pejoski would say, the starting point was unassumingly innocent, citing the “Endless Possibilities” of youth where character and personality are malleable according to a myriad of experiences. Having found its niche in a very discerning sect of youths, and now standing as a subcultural institution, KTZ continues its investigation into what makes young people tick. Today revealed a different side of Kokon To Zai, a departure from the hard-edged strict dress codes and a willingness to experiment.
See-through raincoat material matched with geometric paneling, colour blocking, and solid impenetrable bodies that filled the armoury-like garments launched the show to a punchy start. Guests had to peep through metal fences to see the clothes, in keeping with the fetish undertones, as models swooped down the runway at break-neck speed. The backdrop of Chris Burden’s “Metropolis II,” one of Pejoski’s other inspirations, set the tone as hyperfuturistic. To use sex within the context of cruising in a club in order to express the immediacy of the “Endless Possibilities” was both evocative and ingenious. Beyond just the thematic exploration, the collection offered a play on unconventional textures including a complete look made of cork and Tyvek, a material used often in envelopes for waterproofing. When metallic numbers matched the taste of iron in the air, the show took on a multi-sensory spin. By the end of it, models were clad in deconstructed motor racing gear complete with drogue parachutes, as if to say “slow down, you’re moving too fast.” The larger-than-life styling has always been KTZ’s strength and is probably why the brand resonates to so well with club culture. The bravado of the collection felt like KTZ’s projection of its ideal self.
On the whole, the spectrum of visual ideas that ensued on the runway provided a glimpse into the offcuts of KTZ before it achieved its long-standing status. Raw ideas being put forth with little filtering gave a sense of spontaneity and imagination. At a crossroad where it had just repositioned its womenswear show across the pond to New York Fashion Week, this retrospection could bring valuable lessons for the future.