By channeling futurism into the phantasmagoric designs of his namesake brand, there is no one better to take on subversive streetwear than Dhruv Kapoor. Since its inception in 2014, his eponymous label has reached global audiences and achieved impressive success. He was awarded the Vogue India Fashion Fund, GQ India Menswear Designer of The Year, and Vogue India Womenswear Designer of The Year, for his work combining modernity and subculture.
For its AW22 presentation at Milan Men’s Fashion Week, Dhruv Kapoor intertwined the past, present and future in a playful celebration of multiplicity and plurality with a metropolitan mood. Dubbed Soul-Tech, it was a wavy display, combining the old and the new, steeped in expert craftsmanship and sartorial expertise. 70s silhouettes and cool colours were hot on the mind of the New Delhi-based designer as he was guided by his inclination to show the label’s commitment to circularity. In fact, 40% of the collection was created from discarded textiles sourced from domestic manufacturers.
Proceedings kicked off with a bicoloured blue monogram quilt, puffer scarf and a matching high-neck unitard. Following closely came a dark-denim Canadian Tuxedo peppered with pixelated yellow sunflowers, plastic-like translucent co-ords and skinsuits swathed in custom, psychedelic, logomaniac prints. Also on the agenda were expertly tailored blazers stamped with florals and wide-leg trousers that pooled over gothic loafers.
Kapoor also went heavy on the hats – from eclectic, scull-tight balaclavas to faux fur dreadlock bucket caps made with elongated tassels that channel jellyfish tentacles. The intersections of the natural world and the allure of science were made apparent with each geometric floral motif and graphic landscape hand-embroidered by local Indian artisans.
Sharp tones of electric blue, iridescent “digital” violet and crimson created an intense narrative with an overarching sense of harmony, while acute fushia and ice-white accents evolved the line-up from simple streetwear staples to an invigorating investigation into the flexible illusion of reality. Devoid of any end or beginning, Soul-Tech invited us to live eternally in digital heaven in a bid to embrace our growing obsession with the Metaverse.
The repeating poster-print series, as seen on a bomber jacket and co-ordinating skinsuit, was especially inspired by the 1970s and explored the capabilities of the human mind by taking a deep-dive into soul science and technological advancements.
Kapoor experimented with casual draping, bold fabrics and textures, breaking down the boundaries of what is typically expected of menswear, while evening gloves and silk scarves dynamised conservative outerwear silhouettes. Gender stereotypes and conventions were cast aside in the search instead for cutting-edge perspectives, cultural diversity and the infinite expansion of visual horizons. Soul-Tech ushered in a new kind of casual; science with style.
The collection is available in over 20 leading retailers throughout India, North America, Japan, UAE, EU, UK, and China, as well as on its website at dhruvkapoor.com. In the meantime, don’t miss the full line-up, available above.