As fashion continues to morph and evolve, it’s rare to come across a collection that so seamlessly bridges eras while contemplating our future existence. The ERL Spring/Summer 2024 Collection does just this. Eli Russell Linnetz, the creative mind behind ERL, takes his audience on an unconventional time journey with this collection, unveiling a narrative that intertwines the past, present, and a hypothetical future.
The Pitti-hosted spectacle was conceived to represent the year 2176, with the historical Palazzo Corsini courtyard transformed into the residence of a future ambassador. The designer’s intriguing narrative drew on his own Venice Beach neighborhood, casting real-life surfers to portray 22nd-century party crashers, who’ve journeyed to Tuscany to ride the surf generated by global warming.
In this show, the idea of moving forward is juxtaposed with reflective glances back into the past. Linnetz cleverly creates a bridge between future prospects and memories of Venice’s Dogtown days some 50 or 60 years ago. Pieces like the Uncle Sam-meets-Slash top hats, 70’s inspired tailored topcoats, and starry-spangled “wetsuits” immerse us into a timeline that extends beyond the confines of the present.
“Costume is a form of messaging,” Linnetz shared backstage, offering insight into his approach towards fashion. The collection featured a dynamic range of materials and shapes, including a transparent plastic tape quilt, crafted in collaboration with artist Oliver Herring, and a fishskin-silver lurex officer’s jacket ornately adorned with embroidered and crystal set regalia.
Fascinating accessories featured in the ERL collection included reimagined skate shoes reminiscent of the puffy Etnies/Emerica/Globe styles of the early ’90s, and eyewear that tilted more towards goggles than sunglasses. Tom Binns-designed collage chains added a splash of flamboyance, refusing to be overshadowed by any ensemble.
Beyond the aesthetics, Linnetz’s first tangible collection comes with embedded irony; it is hyper-unreal, yet it points towards deeper introspections about American masculine identities and their projections of power. As the nostalgic strains of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” filled the air, and the surfer models sauntered past, the audience was drawn into the joy of simply absorbing ERL’s surface designs and the challenging task of exploring their profound depths.
The ERL Spring/Summer 2024 Collection is more than an assembly of fashion pieces; it’s a thought-provoking narrative bridging eras, a paradoxical fusion of past and future, a cultural commentary, and, ultimately, an immersive experience that goes beyond the runway.
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