For AW23, EgonLab’s Florentin Glémarec and Kevin Nompeix were lucid dreaming. Exploring the sublime and subconscious in this, their seventh collection – which they dubbed Parasomnia – their subversive ideas felt fully formed. Parasomnia, according to medical professionals, is a condition characterised by the abnormal disruption of sleep, encapsulating all sorts of strange disorders from sleepwalking, talking, and eating, to nightmares or night terrors, bedwetting, sleep apnea and even seizures. But the boys at EgonLab didn’t interpret this condition so literally, rather, the pair played with the paradox of sleep, where reality is limited but possibilities are boundless. The result was a confident collection (maybe their most assured to date), that blurred the gender spectrum and blended the era-defining style of the 90s into an awesome assortment of off-kilter clothes.
Laced with steaming libido, low-slung trousers dipped deeper than a bumster – well below the crotch – and were held in place by a bodysuit-like construction: making menswear skewed more feminine. Elsewhere, there were trippy floral intarsias in the form of slinky slip dresses and distressed knits; body-engulfing, oversized silhouettes; mutton-sleeve trenches paired with lace-up leather biker shorts and heavy-set military boots. EgonLab reinvented the garter as well, fashioning it into a detached, denim, skirt-like accessory superimposed over pairs of matching trousers. Serving the subliminal, an imagined place where identities blur and generations blend emerged, and with a few cheeky Gucci belts thrown into the mix it was also a lesson in everyday glamour. It’d be a crime of fashion not to note the holographic tinsel coats, razor-sharp 80’s style shoulders and distorted flare pants that pervaded the offering, enunciated by intense tartan and argyle prints in traditional styles or black and silver sequins. Sparking a surreal sense of synesthesia, oranges, blues, fuchsias and greens floated from quilted hooded numbers to tiny kilts and sexy-fied suiting, composing a grunge uniform for “the school of life”.
The visceral show was darlingly dedicated to the late iconoclast Vivienne Westwood, and to René Glémarec – Florentin’s grandfather – the super-cool “grandfluencer” who sported EgonLab looks at every show and garnered viral recognition. Both honourees are legends in their own right. So, sifting through their respective creative residues, Glémarec and Nompeix augmented a lashing of punk elements that riffed on the surreal and the pervasive pessimism of grunge. “Dreams, as well as nightmares, shape our beliefs and will take us forward,” the design duo conclude in the show notes. “We just need to believe.”
Photography courtesy of EgonLab.