Some collections necessitate a thesaurus, encyclopedia, and four hours down a Wikipedia wormhole to figure out what’s going on. Minimalist artists and crypto-religious movements, anyone? Others are plain and simple, sometimes too much so.
KTZ follows the latter blueprint: The thumping music begins and the models hit the catwalk clad in getups that vary little, but enough, from season to season. This time it was Kraftwerk meets Russian Futurism meets American sport. Obviously! Well, not so obviously, but I’d scribbled down “baseball” and “eighties Gaultier,” who in 1987 created a Cyrillic-stamped collection quickly dubbed Detente Chic in the midst of the thawing of the Cold War.
Here, America dominated more than anything else, from the opening mirror-embroidered looks that crossed Liberace with Bootsy Collins atop bowling shoes pumped up with platform soles. They were outré for bowling clobber, but wound up resembling rather pedestrian versions of Vivienne Westwood’s still best-selling Rocking Horse shoes. KTZ’s designer Marjan Pejoski is a Westwood fanatic, incidentally: The pointed shoulders on a few of his oversize overcoats were straight out of her 1983 Witches collection.
Westwood has railed against American cultural imperialism, but Pejoski evidently embraces it. His jackets were largely collegiate, with varsity detailing cut into coats or bombers simply elongated. A few were stitched with the giant leather-laced sutures that commonly scar the surfaces of baseballs. Baseball pants became everyday pants; signature stripes marked sweatshirts and intarsia fur scarves. Kraftwerk provided the colors: red, black, white. Russian Futurism? Nah—more eighties retro.
KTZ is not looking to expand its customer base, nor fashion’s frontiers. Pejoski was playing to a home crowd tonight, which roared its approval. As for the uninitiated newcomer? Well, watch a baseball game without knowing the rules, and come away none the wiser. You just end up a little tired, a little dazed, with a crick from swiveling your neck watching everyone pointlessly bounding about.