While warmer temperatures might be on most of our minds at the moment, Saul Nash had other ideas for his FW23 collection. In a room you’d believe was a few degrees below freezing, mounds of black powder littered the floor, images of snow capped mountains lined the backdrop, and the sounds of ski poles scraping through powdered snow echoed about the space.
The collection, which was ski-themed, used performance art to transport us to an icy slope, with shivering models walking the runway, rubbing their gloved hands together in an effort to immerse us in the snowy scene. Amongst them were a flurry of dancers who moved elegantly around one another in a style reminiscent of snowflakes. It almost felt real enough that you expected to see your own breath.
Function met style through a selection of coats, each decorated with Velcro, drawstring cords, hidden zips, and Nash’s signature kinetic lines which added a sleek, fitted element to the designs. Plus Nash’s expert use of wool made a return following his 2022 Woolmark Prize Award in the form of performance-led tops and leggings, and a ventilated Merino knit sweater. Undeniably the showstopper was the final look, an all silver set that would probably blind you on the slopes.
Staying on theme, we were treated to an array of ski-style jackets, high necked fleeces, waterproof trousers with reflective detailings, and essential cold-weather accessories. However, whilst they were all undoubtedly ski inspired, it seemed that only by layering every garment on top of each other would you actually be warm enough to take to the slopes.
This is because what Nash has actually said of the collection juxtaposes the idea of it as ski-wear. Whilst it plays on the functionality and style of ski attire, Saul’s inspiration actually didn’t come from a snowy resort. In fact, it came from somewhere a lot closer to home: the streets of London. He described how “when you grow up in London you wear a lot of ski outerwear, but you never learn to ski.”
In reference to a mindset we’ve all adhered to at one point or another, the collection preaches the idea of dressing for the life you want, not the one you have. Wanting to look like a pro-skier really never involved skis. Simply wearing the right style of garments is enough.
“Function over form” is the motto that seems to be reverberating among designers lately, but Saul Nash has demonstrated perfectly that including one doesn’t mean compromising the other. His collection is a stylistic new twist on an aesthetic that’s always been led by function. It’s skiwear for the people that want to look icy without feeling cold.
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