Sun Tzu, author of the 5th Century B.C. treatise entitled The Art of War, manages to sum up everyday battle in the recent century in one prophetic quote, “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.” War, in the biblical sense, hasn’t changed for time travelers like London-based designer and illustrator Florian Wowretzko. His Spring/Summer 2016 collection entitled “Ezekiel,” is energized and activated by the story of the bible prophet’s heady vision of dune-like waves rippling over desert encampments, all glittered and dusted with the remains of achromatized skeletons. Quantum leaps from previous collections, Wowretzko’s current choreography inside the minds-eye of inner warriors communicates that we must separate today’s weak pre-emptive strikes from the real ninjas. There are simply no friendly fires or empty threats to be found here.
This visualized mental judo is demonstrated by the designer’s use of neoteric simulacrums encapsulated by stark architecture. Frames come in the forms of contrasting lengths, and angles are executed with laser-cut precision. All lengths emphasize strength in movement, which never allows for hindrance. These robes of metamorphosis, some ensconced in straps while others giving way to free-flowing cocoon shapes, emerge as signature statements. Leathers that have undergone rebirths into ribbed and tunic-like configurations graze the body to steely perfection. Menacing trench coats with military lapels demonstrates Wowretzko’s uncanny use of utility. Somnambulistic layers paired with ankle-length kilts accentuated by single-sleeved jackets that jettison the upper torso further develops the collection’s nod towards our unsung inner warriors. Mesh fabrics sculpted into sheer kilts paired with Ecru jackets adorned with leather loops advances the contrast of fragility paired with stealth, silencer muscularity.
The collection may read quasi-robotic, however it’s duly evident that
Wowretzko’s carefully crafted hand is stronger than any strict machine. Symmetry throughout the collection emulates fluid, modern-day breastplates, as if Wowretzko’s prophetic vision aims to protect the wearer from the battlefields of invisible Wi-Fi signals, surveillance and the unpredictable measures of everyday urban sprawl. The collection weaves its final divinatory tale with singular spirit, challenging its forebears to realize that it’s simply not a question of pushing the confines of masculinity and scope of gender fluidity, but of embracing the ancient one inch punch of distinct subtlety.
Photography: You Bin
Model: Efren Garza (DNA)
Wardrobe: Florian Wowretzko Spring/Summer 2016