Although it’s hard to imagine channeling literary heroes onto cloth, designer Sruli Recht successfully captures the dark and textured visuals of science fiction scribes Bruce Sterling and Philip K. Dick as well as cyberpunk chronicler William Gibson. But, once you learn that Recht calls Iceland his home, it all seems to make so much sense.
For his first complete collection of menswear, dubbed “When Gravity Fails,” Recht’s particular futuristic aesthetic can best be described as boasting an ethereal masculinity. Sourcing local materials from the Land of Fire and Ice for his leather (horse, wild reindeer, birds, fish, and lamb) and wool (he worked with a local knit producer), there is something barbarically beautiful in the viking-like designs he’s concocted. “Icarus, post-crash,” for example, is a sheath made up of blackbird feathers sourced by local marksmen. “After meeting a group of hunters hunting birds and beasts,” Recht explains, “we struck up a deal: all the birds they could bring me, in exchange for a pound of breath.” The resulting piece is worthy of a warrior, but too stunning to ever actually be worn into battle. By contrast, the white wondrous woolly creation entitled “Born out of this,” is derived from 27 still born lambs, giving purpose to the lost souls that were not meant to be.
A bit savage in technique, yes, but the designer takes pride in what little waste he creates during the process—including conserving paper by not creating collection sketches. “I just listened to the fabric and the forms and they told me what to do,” he says. “The whole thing is completely intuitive and free, but very dimensional and formed. The collection is entirely draped mostly from single pieces.” By using a half-scale mannequin, Recht was able to make 3D sketches onto the actual form, thereby reducing the amount of work a designer would normally put in. Using what the he calls a “macroscope” process, he uses projectors and scanners to find the correct full-size proportions, relying on lasers to cut the fabric for the finished pieces. “Every aspect of the [147 piece] collection is laser cut, from the patterns to the materials and final garments,” says Recht. “The result is a collection with a balance between construction and freedom.”
“When Gravity Fails” is a collection to shock and awe, as you can see for yourself while it’s on display at Paris’ Showroom Romeo from January 19-29 as well as at Tranoi from January 22-24.
Photographer:Marinó Thorlacius / Stylist: Arash Arfazadeh