As the mercury spikes and the sun scorches the streets of Paris, no collection better embraces the summer heat than Josef Lazo and Andreas Schmidl’s LAZOSCHMIDL Spring/Summer 2024 collection. In a world where a model’s glistening skin transforms from an accidental discomfort to an intentional detail, the essence of Lazo and Schmidl’s vision reaches us in a way even the most talented makeup artist couldn’t emulate.
Hosted in a charmingly anachronistic setting in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the show’s location set the stage for a futuristic glimpse of the past, with models awaiting their entrance behind a vibrant backdrop of oval orange windows. We, the audience, stifling our own perspiration in the summer heat, were invited to wonder if the models too were sweltering in their summer outfits. The answer, as it turned out, was yes — and this was just as the designers intended.
The entire collection is an illustration of a short story penned by Schmidl himself. Entitled “Salmon in the Sand,” it narrates a tale of two men — ambiguously defined as a gay couple or best friends — embarking on a sizzling summer beach escapade. This narrative holds an uncanny resemblance to the essence of Fire Island, the widely celebrated gay sanctuary in New York, as the story and the collection take you straight from the beach to a shared living space.
“There’s a lot to read between the lines in the story,” revealed Schmidl, subtly nodding towards the veiled themes of desire, pursuit, and more in his narrative. The collection, in contrast, is refreshingly straightforward. With lustful speedos, singlets, and towel-like dresses, there’s no room left for imagination. Paired with lightweight polos, tank tops, and mesh hoodies are alluring athletic shorts. And not to be missed are the delightful gift shop accessory additions — trinket belts and necklaces.
Lazo and Schmidl’s collection leaves no doubt as to who they are designing for — it is a flirtatious, yet earnest, homage to the gay male community’s resort lifestyle. The collection embodies their keen understanding of their audience and the distinct style aesthetics they adhere to during their summer escapades.
What takes the experience a notch higher is the accompanying AI-illustrated mini graphic zine. Illustrating the narrative of the two men exploring varied locations from a vibrant holiday home to a picturesque beach and a scenic hiking trail, the zine’s illustrations are reminiscent of the works of David Hockney, specifically his “Splash” series.
As one watches this collection, it is easy to place it within a context familiar to many — a reflection of how our friends dress during their own summer holidays. Yet, there remains a longing for more of the delightful, fearless experimentation that defines the design duo. Perhaps it is the sight of jorts draped just so, exposing an integrated thong, that incites this longing. Nevertheless, the LAZOSCHMIDL Spring/Summer 2024 collection is already making quite a splash, capturing the spirit of a perfect summer “gaycation.”
© Photos: LAZOSCHMIDL
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