Exploring Tensions. GmbH SS23

Though launched as a menswear label six years ago, GmbH is actually more like an ecosystem. Fashion is the baseline, of course, but its network spans artists, musicians, DJs, writers, muses, and friends of every stripe who resonate with its message of “decolonizing” attitudes. The spring-summer 2023 collection, called „Ghazal”, after the ancient form of Arabic poetry, officially marked the first time the designers focused on fleshing out a woman’s wardrobe, but it played more like an exercise in continuity. Exploring the tensions between religion, morality, freedom, and sex offered ample fodder – and given that Benjamin Huseby and Serhat Isik are simultaneously easing into their new role at Trussardi in Milan, they managed to pull the whole thing off with flair. “Blurry boundaries were always kind of interesting to us,” Isik offered backstage about a collection billed as “beach to ballroom, and maybe club, opera, and ashram.”. Spirituality – specifically protection and healing – was a leitmotif. Evil eyes cropped up as buttons, and prints developed with Java-based Indonesian artist Muhammad “Rofi” Fatchurofi were inspired by the transformative properties of water. On the runway there were continent-hopping, gender-fluid ideas about tailoring: a draped skirt with a matching shirt conveyed glamour with the ease of pajamas, while a similar one slipped under a crisply constructed leather jacket fused a European construct with the lungi worn by men across Asia. Another, worn alone, was accessorized with a shell necklace by the Berlin-based designer Nhat-Vu Dang, who lent several striking pieces to the show. GmbH also revisited last season’s talisman prints in Arabic calligraphy by the Berlin-based Syrian artist Abdelrazak Shaballot, transposing the affirmations “safe from harm,” “wisdom,” and “knowledge” onto lasered denim or slip dresses in blue and white. Not so long ago, shorts in denim or vinyl worn with or without a two-pocket apron belt – or perhaps a fur stole – would have skewed more club than night at the opera. Which was the designers’ point: nowadays, anything goes.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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