by Alex R. Travers
You’ll have to take your eyes off the fluorescent summer furs to navigate the creative twists in Gilles Mendel’s latest collection. For his J. Mendel spring 2015,the designer collaborates with Enoc Perez, an artist whose signature works are large-scale paintings of modernist buildings. Bear with me. What’s interesting about Perez is his intensity. His wide, often colorful brushstrokes give his pieces potent abstractions.
Which makes Perez a good fit for Mendel, whose palette can run the gamut from ivory to glaring turquoise. Lately, it seems, Mendel’s been pushing to catch the attention of the downtown crowd. You can see it in the shapes (an “angle-front” coat replaces his more traditional blazers) and you can hear it in the music (sound designer Sebastien Perrin’s segue from Henrik Schwarz’s “Balletsuite 1” to SBTRKT’s “New Drop. New York”—the ultimate uptown-downtown transition). That’s not to say his clothes, always exquisitely constructed, aren’t beautiful. They’re just very polished, which in below-14th-street lingo can mean “not very interesting.”
The window motif here, however, is interesting. Loosely interpreted from Perez’s style, Mendel electrically beads sheer crewneck tops. They are the highlights of the collection. Unless, of course, fur’s you’re thing. Then you’re in for a treat.
Presenting the turquoise and pink shadow fox coat (pictured here). OMG! Or as he likes to hashtag the catchphrase on Instagram, #OMGilles.