On Wednesday February 3, German-born Robert Geller presented a menswear range that was equal parts cockney gangster and Wolf of Wall Street. The collection, inspired by the novel The Grey Gentlemen by Michael Ende, evokes images of faceless businessmen usually associated with dystopian capitalism. Slicked haircuts, studded briefcases, and flowing pleated trousers are a clear reference to the contemporary idea of a manicured-but-lethal "business shark".   

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Imagined by Geller, however, suiting and overcoats take on an overdyed retro-futuristic quality. An interesting mix of sportswear pieces joins some of Geller's menswear standbys (e.g. double-breasted suiting) to create an image that is as modern as it is Gilded Age. Fans of the #YEEZY #aesthetic will find themselves drawn to the oversized silhouettes in familiar colors, even if the garments presented have little in common with Mr. West's creations. 

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

This season's tonal color palette is one of Geller's greatest triumphs: traditional menswear silhouettes range from burnt orange to bleached natural ecru, adding a layer of creativity to the collection that references the novel's youthful audience. The first models down the runway emerged in jet black; the last, in vibrant color schemes that suggest a happy ending to the extraordinary 30-look collection on show.

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Photo: Monica Feudi / Indigitalimages.com

Between the shined-up Common Projects shoes, unconventional-yet-tasteful color schemes, and wide-brim derby hats, Geller's latest adds a thick layer of fun to an otherwise grim narrative. In my opinion, FW16 is an exercise in knowing the rules before you can break them. Instead of blue-sky moonshots, Robert Geller plays within familiar menswear paradigms to create something new.  You get the feeling that true robbers and barons would feel out of place in Geller's fantasy world. Patrick Bateman wouldn't go to Dorsia in this collection; it's just not subtle enough to hide behind. But for the rest of us, who aspire to live and create rather than fall in line, Geller's latest is masterful.

 

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