Japanese fashion designer Balmung presented his S/S 2012 “Helvetica Standard” at the new Primitive London Gallery to co-incide with London Fashion Week. The Fake Tokyo and Candy favorite was the first to make use of the new Gallery which is in the adjoining railway arch to the one that houses Primitive London itself. The gallery is a pleasantly rough blank canvas for exhibitions, that by virtue of its high vaulted and lack of natural light presents an other-worldly space, but one inherently tied to street edge of East London outside – a perfect match for Balmung whose own work brings imposing, fantastical froms into a street-style wardrobe.
Balmung’s work this season was a progression of his love affair with austere chalky and concrete shades with sharp panels of detail contrasting in silver and gold. All the while toying with heavy armour like structuring with the contradiction of amorphous shapelessness that locates his work in the company of his aggressive juxtaposition loving Harajuku contemporaries like Runurunu, Hiro and Bodysong.
Balmung was also enjoying making good use of high quality hand-printing techniques to give us some of the highest resolution prints I have ever seen, and it should really be noted that absolutely everything in the collection had been hand made in Japan by the designer – Hachi himself.
Even the wood structure that displayed his work was built by the man himself, as was the music and video presentation. This is a designer who has taken control of every single aspect of the creative process to give us a clear concise vision of the world of Balmung.
The geometric lines of Hachi’s wooden structures were reflected in the patterning that made up the collection (and fortunately my outfit that day!) and it was really interesting to see how even his billowing amorphous t-shirts were themselves made up of pristine geometric cuts of fabric.
I loved how the gold shown out from the midst of the concrete and grey jersey. Somehow it reminded me of Tokyo, itself a concrete mass, but always broken up with shafts of bright light and reflections.
This jacket was the obviously stand out item of the collection for me with a truly enviable level of detail, a beautiful mix of texture and a flawless finish.
Most of the hardware was handled with surprisingly heavy metal chains, one dress in particular was an unbelievably weighty affair that you might not have expected from the soft cloud-like aura around it.
If you want to see more then you can head on over to the Primitive London homepage where you can even buy current season Balmung as well as other Tokyo based designers like Dead Kebab, Giza, ilil, Ambush and Banzai. Shop away here and I am sure you don’t need me to tell you how hard it is to find a stockist who ships internationally, but rest assured that Primitive do.
With their expansion in London Primitive have quickly become part of the fabric of the London fashion scene, but they clearly have a desire to spread their message of directly supporting young and exciting designers further afield, and who knows they might well turn up in a certain Tokyo institution very soon indeed.
Likewise Balmung is a man on the up not only in Japan where we has finally ticked the box of being worn by Gaga, but also internationally in Europe where Primitive are going to be stocking his entire collection (look out for it online and in the shop soon). Hopefully we can catch up with the man himself in Japan this rapidly incoming fashion week and you can rely on us to bring you his work as it happens.