Luke Meier doesn’t really do trends; he’s all about the product itself. This season’s particular context only reinforced that stance, and the designer tipped his hat to his team at OAMC for their determination to pull together and “grab onto a bit of a normal process.”
“Personally speaking, I feel you kind of check your own value structure and decide what really matters,” he said during a Zoom interview. “In fashion, you’re always looking at whether something’s superfluous or whether there’s an inherent need for it. You can have a beautiful product that will last, and you have an outward, artistic expression which is just as important, if not more,” he added.
When he started on the spring 2021 collection, Meier was working from a feeling of strength and authenticity, with military-sharp tailoring and fabrics like Japanese wool gabardine and raw cotton canvas. As time progressed, he decided to counterbalance tailoring with what he called a more human aspect, incorporating found images such as a lobster and hand-embroidering them onto a sleeveless topcoat, a nod to Dalí he describes as “a little Surreal but manageable.” A tropical flower worked its way onto a compact jersey top, and a cut-out of a fawn print embroidered on the back of a hooded white coat nodded to the artist John Baldessari. A pair of legs, lifted from a vintage postcard and transposed scrapbook-style onto silk, pushed that idea a stretch further. That last example was sort of an inside joke, a sartorial quip to friends who tell Meier he’s too serious.
Elsewhere, the designer made a strong showing with pieces that speak to OAMC’s more accessible side. A fluid sage green parka with a triple closure fit that bill, as did a jacket in natural-dye calfskin bonded on cotton voile. Some new bags, like a canvas and leather tote and a crossbody bag—created when Meier was still traveling a lot and had an epiphany about the appeal of hands-free bags—also looked sleek, while military boots, nowreworked with electric color, bared their teeth.
“I always think that it’s positive when people have to rethink,” he offered. It seems to be working for him.Luke Meier
This season has been nothing if not an improv for designers and brands. But despite all the constraints and the absence of a live show, OAMC can count itself among those that rose to the occasion of a forced moment. An optimist at heart, Meier noted that we still have months to go until 2021, so maybe things will turn out better than we expect.
Photographed in Milan by @nicolaskern