In the midst of a sultry afternoon in the British capital, a striking figure in a crimson, knitted scuba suit made his entrance onto a bespoke, sand-laden runway at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. This arresting moment marked the unveiling of the “Intersections” collection by the inimitable Saul Nash for the Spring/Summer 2024.
Saul Nash, renowned for his groundbreaking LUAS brand, has used this collection as a new compass to explore and navigate the multifaceted strata of his identity – his mixed heritage as well as his lived experiences as a Londoner. Drawing inspiration from the tropes of beachwear and seascapes, the “Intersections” collection finds its grounding in Nash’s voyage to the island nation of Mauritius – a journey that offered him a novel lens to perceive his paternal lineage.
“My grandparents hail from Mauritius, deeply rooted in the Hindu culture,” Nash confessed. “While growing up, I felt estranged from this part of my heritage. But when I visited the island, I discovered striking parallels between the cultures I was acquainted with. The familiar rhythms of music, the cosmopolitan blend of cultures – it felt like home, yet it was altogether new.“
This newfound understanding of his cultural heritage influenced his collection’s narrative. The assortment of sun-bleached hues, marine blues, and the sporty beachwear seen in the collection echo the tropical atmosphere of Mauritius, while the subtle nuances of London’s street style retain the grounding of his urban identity.
His clothing pieces seamlessly incorporated the essence of both the Indian Ocean and Caribbean islands. “The elements that shape the cultures I’ve known are born out of the migration of people. They’ve travelled, shared, and absorbed – creating a rich, diverse tapestry that’s truly global,” explained Nash.
The collection abounds in meaningful symbolisms that narrate Nash’s personal journey. An abstract representation of the globe, cleverly woven into the structure of an ocean-blue compression top, stands as a testimony to Nash’s exploration of his cultural roots. Shorts, swimming trunks, signature tracksuits, and logo-embellished towels further add to the casual yet impactful aesthetic.
“I perceive myself as a Londoner navigating through the Mauritian culture, slightly out of place but oddly fitting in, just like a mismatched ensemble of outerwear jackets and swimming trunks. The collection, while holding its roots in the maritime, carries the sportswear undertones that anchor my London identity,” added Nash.
Notably, Nash integrates a recurring aquatic theme, marked by flying-fish appliqués, sailor collars fused with hoods, and pixelated prints inspired by Hindu temples seen in Mauritius. Paying homage to his newly embraced Indian heritage, one can spot the depiction of the river goddess Ganga, a divine symbol in the Hindu mythology. This follows Nash’s previous tribute to Mama Wati, the mermaid deity revered across various cultures worldwide.
Though LUAS has always been practical in its approach, it’s Nash’s spiritual thread that seamlessly connects his unique narrative and gives it a soul. The Spring/Summer 2024 “Intersections” collection by Saul Nash serves as a testament to the exploration of identity and culture, presenting a collection that is not only aesthetically compelling but also resonates with a deeply personal narrative.
Photos: Carlo Scarpato / Gorunway.com
Click on this link to read this article in French version