As an off-schedule project at the Hannah Barry Gallery premieres spring/summer 13 works by Lee Roach and showcases exclusive editions of the emerging design talent’s collaboration with Nike and Nasir Mazhar, we share a first look at his spring/summer 13 film shot by Luke Clayton Thompson.
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Amidst a wave of print-driven and flamboyant menswear, Lee Roach is flying the flag for 21st century minimalism in London, having aligned his precise, monochrome universe with that of uniform, architecture, purity and pragmatism. The 25-year-old designer hasn’t stumbled on the inertia of his spring/summer 13 runway debut, a show that positioned his work at a level of sophistication rarely attributed to new talents in the field. The garments find a sensitive finesse in simplicity, designed through the studied reduction and repetition of themes and underscored by extensive fabric research – complementing not only structure and aesthetic but also wearability. Likewise, the shoes Roach masterminded with sportswear giant Nike epitomise this ethos, and have become the primary subject of an off-schedule project at the Hannah Barry Gallery’s Bond Street location in London this week.
Roach has commissioned a capsule of six pairs of Nike’s Lunarglide+3 trainers in white and reflective silver materials, presented in various stages of deconstruction – a process the London-based milliner Nasir Mazhar has executed by hand. Seen in his spring/summer 13 show (only in black) the unique shoes feature raw-edged cutouts along the precise lines of the original structure, revealing slices of lime green inner-soles and the various composite layers beneath. “I felt the shoes were a fundamental part of the season’s thought process,” says Roach. “There is a lightness to them, particularly the silver reflective surface and the optic white. For me it’s very interesting to take something so technically advanced and then hand cutting that and leaving raw edges. We had to remove the entire sock and re-stitch the tongue back together. It’s a complete contradiction of the technology.” Roach has mounted the six styles on a floating platform of high-gloss black aluminium, as a stark centerpiece in the 30sqm space.
Further commenting on the project’s title, ‘Reduction & Repetition’, the installation includes a four minute film (look right) conceived at Roach’s spring/summer 13 show by the young British filmmaker Luke Clayton Thompson. Shot solely during the official runway show, the piece betrays little evidence of the traditional show setting – masterfully excluding the audience from each frame. Jolting freeze frames dissolve into slow-motion sequences, as Thompson captures the contrast between Roach’s austere, monochrome garments with the ornate Victorian salons. Elsewhere poetic changes in light through the film may seem like post-production technique, yet are simply the live flashes of catwalk photographers, and that exact moment a model passes past the natural light of an open window. A serendipitous poetic effect, as it were.
The one night, one day installation is the Hannah Barry Gallery’s first foray into the arena of fashion, as Hannah and co-founder Sven Mündner explain, “This is not an exhibition we are doing in our program, this is a special project to support Lee and Melissa (Thompson).” It’s not the first off-schedule collaboration the gallerists have executed, continues Sven, “We have just done a music event with Whip Records from New York at our Peckham space.” The pair’s enthusiasm for and curiosity in new disciplines (and likewise Roach’s aesthetic) is infectious, and is reinforced by their philosophy on the fundamental similarities between the art and fashion worlds. “The discipline of making clothes and the creativity involved in it is of course phenomenally exciting and interesting – it is a different world”, muses Hannah, “Both worlds are to do with creativity and inspiration and to some extent, coming up with new ways to present things and I think clothes, like architecture, have a utility to them that in a way, you could argue, art doesn’t have.”
Reduction and Repetition is open to the public from 12-4pm, Wednesday December 5th 2012 at Hannah Barry Gallery, 110 Bond Street London W1S 1EB.
Text: Dan Thawley
Film: Luke Clayton Thompson
Stylist: Melissa Thompson
Music: Luke Clayton Thompson
Hair: Paul Donovan
Casting: Araminta Markes at 10-4inc
All Models at Next Model Management