GmbH brought a bit of Berlin to Paris with a performance that was the definition of underground.
Forgoing the runway this season, Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik beckoned guests into a pitch-dark basement room at 3537, the Dover Street Market Paris-operated cultural center, for a happening that combined a performance by two dancers from the City Ballet Corp with live music from experimental duo Labour.
Models emerged sporadically in looks from the fall collection, including suits with stoles that trailed on the floor or were tightly wrapped around the torso and tied with a bow. Bows also appeared as decorative accents on the sleeves of tailored coats, and as statement necklines on off-the-shoulder jackets and tops.
The lineup marked a departure from the duo’s usual political stance, rooted in the experience of growing up gay, Muslim and across cultures. (Isik is Turkish German and Huseby is Pakistani Norwegian.)
“As designers of color, you’re often expected to speak about your background and how your background infuses your collections,” Isik remarked backstage. “It can get exhausting sometimes.”
This season, they just wanted to express their passion for clothes, with gestures borrowed from the heyday of French couture. “It was really about, OK, what happens if we allow ourselves not to talk about our hardship and trauma and just really focus on what our tropes are and what the tropes of fashion are,” he said.
With its glacial pace and wailing soundtrack, the presentation was polarizing and unveiled only a portion of the designs, which was especially frustrating since it marked GmbH’s first fully commercialized women’s collection.
On the look book images pinned to a board backstage, one could glimpse draped and zippered evening gowns that positively sizzled.