Linder Mens Spring/Summer 2020

by Valerie Stepanova

A quaint townhouse in the lush and peaceful Gramercy neighborhood housed the Linder Mens Spring/Summer 2020 presentation. Though the venue looked cozy at first glance, a feeling of suffocation and confinement filled the room. Artworks by Jon A Kopita were sprinkled around what looks like an Upper East Side apartment, with phrases like “Shut the fuck up.” painstakingly written on a piece of ruled paper over and over again. In a home devoid of nurturing and vitality, it comes to be valued as a financial investment rather than for its intrinsic beauty.

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The show was centered around a figure often encountered on the streets of New York — a sensitive young man of privileged background navigating the conflict between his artistic sensibility and the external expectations of pedigree and class. “I was thinking about prep style, I felt like it could be a fun starting point,” said Kirk Millar, Linder menswear creative director. “I wanted to tap into this sensitive, kind of nerdy character.”

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From there came the Ivy League-inspired deconstructed cricket sweater (a collaboration with Breton Shirt Company once worn by James Dean and other famous prepsters), plaid fabrics, and vintage sport stripes sewn onto blazers and hoodies. The allure of culture and artistic pursuits is in opposition to what is perceived as dynastic success, fueling the tension between character and environment. Ankle-grazing pants to represent an environment which is ill-fitted, white polos and speedos embroidered with “Trophy Husband” to symbolize a dilettante accustomed to luxury.

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In keeping with the theme, models lounged around the house, attempting to escape the desolate world through cinema, video games, or any other interest which offers a distraction from the suffocating reality. A horse motif appears throughout the collection as a metaphor for someone raised under strict demands of high society — a free spirit bred and trained to execute the will of a dispassionate ‘superior’ force. As in the previous collection, there were silk scarves: a signifier of class turned into a form of a giant care label to convey the wearer’s delicate temperament.

This collection strays away from the opulence and fantasy that was so prominent in Linder Fall 2019 Menswear collection. “For me, there has been so much, fantasy involved in the design process,” Millar said. “I'm kind of shifting into a different mode of thinking about it.” With a lot more minimalistic choices made for this collection, the brand is giving the prep style (formerly reserved for brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Brooks Brothers) a new, satirical look. And we’re here for it.

Photos: courtesy of Linder