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BLACKMERLE: The Hair of The Dog
April 11, 2017
Vancouver Fashion Week saw the debut collection of Terrance Shin, creative director and designer of BLACKMERLE. The brand gets its name from the term for the dark coat of a dog that appears almost painted with irregular streaks and speckles. The image this draws to mind is stormy, individual and striking, as is his debut collection.
The theme for the debut collection presentation during VFW AW17 is Incarnation & Recruitment. He says a key inspiration behind his current collection was the concept of war. He incorporated “functional and versatile elements” from his vision of “military grunge” into his designs. This nod to militaristic and maximalist fashion is clear in his pieces; while all the pieces are a shade of inky black (like the speckles and streaks of a Black Merle coat of a dog), they are anything but simple. His futuristic combat trousers, his glossy longline rain coats and his take on the classic bomber jacket are donned with silver hardware, zips and detachable pouches. His vision for the show was that the models should walk down the catwalk as if they were marching to an imaginary war.
Aside from militaristic and functionality, his designs also pay homage to the values of Dadaism. The striking silhouettes of the jackets capture the vibe of modern avant-garde fashion. When I think of avant-garde fashion, I typically first think of big shapes and bigger colours. But Shin plays with shape, layers and texture to encapsulate the maximalist approach but staying monochromatic.
Perhaps most memorable was the impressive eyewear that one model wore, complex spyglass-like glasses in silver hardware. It reminded me of the anachronistic steampunk style but more futuristic and frankly, a bit cooler.
Shin’s maximalist and avant-garde approach to fashion is clear in his pieces but with functionality at its core. Despite each piece being entirely devoid of any colour, Shin’s innovative vision and applied philosophy makes his work totally striking.
Words by Elle Magill