Beauty & Fashion

NIHL Fall 2024 Menswear Collection

Nihl serves as a vitrine for Neil Grotzinger’s preoccupations and obsessions. This time around, it was tactility which occupied the designer’s thoughts. More specifically, how one can evoke the sense of touch without offering an abundance of texture.

Grotzinger is an avid beader, and each season has included a run of intricate hand-made pieces. This fall lineup was the first that didn’t feature one. “How do I still make a sensorially satisfying collection without it?” Grotzinger asked themself, eventually falling into a rabbit hole of “hyper-sensorial and tactile obsession.”

Much of the collection was constructed in silk charmeuse printed with photos Grotzinger has taken during travels or commutes. There was an image of fabric bolts sitting at a store placed on a halter dress and skirt, plus floral separates in which the flowers come from hand-tied bouquets sitting at a market. Skimpy skirts, body-hugging jackets and slinky blouses were printed with images of chandeliers taken in Las Vegas (“these monikers of sophistication” that become tacky because of their abundance) or cement floors or chipped wooden panels. There was also an ingenious pair of jeans with a panel connecting both legs: “I wanted to make a skort, but didn’t want it to be concealing of the crotch or be a modesty garment,” said the designer, “I wanted to have a frame where it’s obvious you are supposed to notice that space.” It was all some sort of perverted trompe l’oeil where nothing is really what it is—this collection, one can imagine, the artist René Magritte would’ve gotten a kick out of.

“Why do I feel like I need a picture of this?” was a question Grotzinger wanted to answer. The better one: Why do they feel the need to put a brick wall on their body? The spring collections featured an abundance of trash references on the runways. There were trash bag-like fabrics draped into dresses or skirts and duck tape and cardboard details. “Have you noticed, everyone wants to be trash!” said Grotzinger. This was another one of their preoccupations this season, which fed into a recurring fixation on the juxtaposition of “sleekness and filth.” This explains why dirty sidewalks were printed on clean charmeuse dresses, and why that Las Vegas brand of vulgar opulence was fashioned into prim Park Avenue-ready silhouettes.

The most engrossing manifestation of this idea, however, was the measured tussle between Grotzinger’s cast and their silhouettes: Wispy fabrics and delicate styles placed on muscular bodies, the models exuding an aggressive masculinity while walking in strappy sandals and mini skirts. At first glance, the contrast was obvious and straightforward, but the nuance came from Grotzinger’s idea of placing sleekness against filth. Why is it that the femme is considered proper and the masculine coarse? Most importantly: Why is it that it’s jarring to see dainty clothes placed against masc bodies? Because it denotes queerness. Is queer the filth to the sleekness of heteronormalcy? Another wormhole of Grotzinger’s to take us through, perhaps next season.

Read More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button