It was in front of a celebrity crowd that included Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, Usher, King Combs, Swae Lee, designers John Elliott and Bobby Hundreds, among others, that Mike Amiri improvised himself as a fashion hero, holding his first-ever fashion show in his hometown, Los Angeles.
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Within this, Mike finds inspiration close to home, amongst the creative spirit of Los Angeles’ Arts District, and more specifically in his friendship with contemporary artist Wes Lang, whose studio neighbors AMIRI’s. Guided by the house’s tenet that artistic expression needs to be uninhibited and intuitive, the collection unites design house and art studio to explore a dialogue between the two contemporaries.
Mike and Wes have regularly visited each other’s studios without any collaborative context. However, as conversations between the duo naturally veered towards their respective crafts, the exchanging of ideas and aesthetics evolved organically into a truly cooperative and cross-discipline process that informs this season’s art direction.
The collection engages as much with the process as the final product. Inspired by watching Lang in his studio – the live connection between the gesture, the mark and the image; accumulating lines and matter, layering, re-approaching – Mike Amiri echoes this process, treating the garment as a mixed- media canvas and running on instinct; without boundaries.
Directed by this season’s narrative, accents of pink, blue and red are woven directly from selected Wes Lang artworks into the color palette, mixing the artist’s compositions with AMIRI’s rich, earthy signatures: deep hues of birch, green, demitasse brown, grey and black.
Guided by the designer’s hand, archetypes evoke traditional menswear codes and formal fabrications distorted with the uniforms of modern America: references to leisure, workwear, and a distinctive West Coast personality. Deconstructed yet precise, silhouettes embody the textural freestyle of artistic creation: a loose, elongated shape is drawn with trademark kick-flare trousers, held by sculptural shoulders inspired by workwear fits, pieces layer, and overlap intuitively, creating a richness of composition similar to that of a painting.
Traditional tailoring is transformed through leisurewear sensibilities and utilitarian structures. A wool jumpsuit is an elevated yet effortless take on a tracksuit, outerwear is rendered in soft cashmere, shearling and faux fur, and silk shirting embodies a louche formality. Boxy jacket shapes draw workwear proportions while the artisanal warmth of the American quilt is translated as generous outerwear – the hems fringed to move with the breeze – that drape across the body with nomadic spirit.
Invited into Wes Lang’s archive, Mike saw the opportunity to not simply translate the artworks but evolve them through his own artistry – again, applying layers; both physically and figuratively to create new. Therefore, graphics are authentically developed from life-size artworks to become limited-edition compositions within a vibrant, creative conversation.
An exploration of textile through art – central to both Wes and Mike’s practices – hand-painting, abstract jacquard, patchwork, and fabrication washes produce unique finishes, as soft, refined fabrics – chiffon, silk, cashmere, faux fur – are given strength through mixed-media graphics. Lang’s synonymous Grim Reapers, folk totems and scattered text elements are brought to life as abstract intarsia knitwear, hand embroidery and impasto brushstrokes that animate surfaces – in this, garments are crafted as fine art. Artisanal techniques ensure artwork integrity, as does removing coat center-seams to create a smooth canvas. Hand-painted chiffon layers bonded onto wool and fine silk bear an ethereal trompe l’oeil effect and abstract geometries inspire checkerboard patterns, polka-dots and hand-woven stripes.
The craft language of American folk tradition is here embedded in hand-knit compositions: fuzzy mohair cast in this season’s shadow plaid finish; a crotched cashmere-bouclé blend; and an exquisite leather bomber cardigan debuted in supple tan. The interaction between maker and material forms singular expressions: loose and tight weaves are patchworked, yarn left uncut and loose, and authentic paint splatter represents the innate connection between an artist and their output.
Accessories and footwear elaborate on the season’s visual narrative. Leather crossbody bags are worn high, encouraging new silhouette lines, and selected works by Wes Lang are traced across a new slim tote silhouette, branded with this season’s gallery tag. On foot, the house’s signature Stadium and Court sneakers hit the runway in this season’s tonal colorways and checkerboard motif alongside shearling accent combat boots – shearling is further explored as plush slippers. Crochet bucket hats and trucker caps are interchangeable as West Coast tropes.
Both fascinated by notions of American folk, craft and artistry, this collection is a tale of two creators – two practices – harmonizing on parallel beats askew from the traditional route.
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