The British menswear brand A-COLD-WALL*, founded by Samuel Ross in 2015, is a modern gesamtkunstwerk of sorts. Drawing continuously on his background in product and graphic design, over the years Ross has combined clothes, film, music, academia and literature, and exhibition making under the umbrella of A-COLD-WALL*. He is the creative polymath of his generation - it doesn't go amiss that he was taken under the late Virgil Abloh's wing as his apprentice. In a new film directed by Rob Rusling and edited by SHOWstudio's head of fashion film Raquel Couceiro, male models caught in chiaroscuro lighting in the Brutalist underbelly of the Tate's Turbine Hall wear the new A/W 22 collection. Whilst other brands tousle between showing physically or digitally, Ross sticks to the medium he has mastered over the past two years, which in the brand's own words, is 'creating an art form out of the runway'.
Find our highlights from the collection below.
Every season, Ross builds on the A-COLD-WALL* product which has gone before, listening closely to his consumer to find out what is working. It all comes back to Ross' knowledge and fascination with architecture, whereby form follows function. For A/W 22, the long macs we saw in the opening looks for last winter are revisited in speckled dabs of what appear to be spray paint marks. Combining the street attitude of the A-C-W* side to the brand, with the more artistic and refined A-COLD-WALL* pieces Ross has been exploring in recent seasons, was a key theme in the collection.
Following a sartorial shift after moving his shows to Milan for A/W 20, this new collection explores increasingly abstract silhouettes in menswear. Looks 1 and 5 are highlights; bottoms are ruched to create balloon shapes in lightweight fabrics which shimmer, sculpted into cut out shells around the body. Models' hands, ears, faces and hair are painted silver; look 5 glistens in rose gold. Combined with the ceremonial music in the film, the models became Brutalist, celestial beings.
'Emotional artworks capture the humanity in us all; the inflections, the expressions, cadence and familiarities. The shadow, caverns and temperate mannerisms surrounding the mind serve us apparitions and subconscious odysseys each time we fall into a deep slumber, each time one meets isolation.' - A-COLD-WALL*
This season, stylist Yi Ng tells me that Ross wanted to present a clearer vision differentiating Pre-Fall and A/W 22. Together with aligning the A-C-W* and A-COLD-WALL* threads in a more harmonious narrative, cult fans of the brand will be pleased to see that stories are still being told through screen printed graphic patches and tie-dye denim, sweatshirts combined with technical outerwear, and sweatpants cut like chinos.