Soe - '09 SS

Men's Collection Lines
23 September 2008
Thoughts and pictures from the collection show on September 16, 2008
"The New Kid Revival"
September 13, 2008

Oh, the metempsychosis of trends! The turns of the retro-revival wheel! Mid-'80s neon extremes have firmly rooted into contemporary fashion, meaning that late '80s/early '90s styles can only be right around the corner waiting to be reborn. Et tu, Hypercolor?

soe is evidently leading the charge to re-aestheticize that forgotten era, a valley between the heights of Gordon Gekko decadence and the Grunge Revolution. For his spring/summer collection, designer Soichiro Ito took some brief style notes (like backwards baseball caps and mixing stripes and polka dots) from crown princes of 1989 — hit idol group New Kids on the Block — but mostly stuck to old fan-favorites, graffiti and skateboarding. That classic adolescent slogan "Skateboarding is Not a Crime" appeared in Keith Haring-esque letters and on just about every single item: shoes, shirts, and bowties. A white T-shirt spraypainted with the message "While You're Young" underscored the nostalgia/eternal youth angle.

Youth means casual, so Soe had to balance structured suit jackets with pants and accompanying pieces that stayed loose and baggy to allow for necessary sports mobility. Most of the models carried skateboard-backpacks, almost pushing the normally designerly soe into streetwear territory.

Due to the heavy use of the main text pattern, the collection achieved a strong visual consistency, although the blue plaid shorts-suit with contrast lapel brought a useful Fauntelroy dandyism to the rough-and-tumble concrete playground. And the reverse suit-jacket/inner lining vest dropped a teaspoon of conceptual flexibility to what otherwise should be an extremely commerce-friendly collection.

— W. David Marx

(Click on Photo Gallery button at left to view original photography by Sean Wood.)