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3.20.2017

Astrid Andersen

In your opinion, as fashion designers begin to combine their men's and women's collections into a single show, where should the onlooker's eye travel ? Sure, the eye has to travel, but which continental shelf, masculine or feminine, should it land on ? This Astrid Andersen show seems like a good time to raise that question. The 31-year-old Danish-born London-showing designer has been belting out luxury sports-street menswear collections since 2010 and has built a cracking business based on that. Like many other labels, Astrid Andersen is rooted in a 21st century vernacular of basketball and hip-hop. Her men's collection for this season was spiffy. Her customers would want the black sheepskin and the perforated bomber and the Nike slides and they wish they could wear the python-print track pants. The tailored long-length short-sleeved shirts with nametag patches on the chest were reminiscent of early Nineties streetwear, as was the Tribe Called Quest pre-show soundtrack. Jacob Hankin, the guy in a knitted dress, was surprising, but he totally owned that look -and looked good in it too. The mixture of snake print, gold flash, and lace-trim was very Astrid Andersen : decadent finishes on streetwear. The worry bead accessories along with the length of some of the pieces were reminiscent of where Europe meets Africa and Asia. So if this were a menswear collection, this is when your designated writer would normally stop, offer a vaguely authoritative summation, and then sidle off to bed. But no. Like so many collections to come, there was another side to this show; the designer, after much incubation, presented her first womenswear. And despite the immunity of much of the audience to its appeal, this was exciting and new and kind of important, too. All of those decadent AA flashes that seem subversive on her men seem infinitely less so on her women. Yet the lace-trimmed basketball shorts and tracksuits, although less transgressive, were just as affecting and perhaps even more original in a feminine context. Because no collection for women has ever embraced sportswear so sincerely, and so authentically, while simultaneously elevating it. One full-length-at-the-front, shoulder-blade-short-at-the-back variation on the basketball vest-dress looked like a truly new garment. So in summation : even though this show contained some mighty fine menswear, the headline was its womenswear.

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