Jan 11, 2024
Known for his cool, colourful shoes, Achilles Ion Gabriel is now branching out into ready-to-wear. And to unveil his project, what better springboard than Pitti Uomo, where on Thursday he showed the first collection of his new gender-neutral clothing, shoes and accessories brand. The Finnish footwear designer, who has been creative director of Spanish label Camper since 2020, created a grunge-western style with a dark, Rick Owens twist, revisiting men’s classics.
Suits, leather pieces, cargo trousers, denim, and nighties and lace tops in sun-kissed colours were invariably donned by men and women. Looking like they had just stepped out of an Aki Kaurismäki cowboy film, the models wore santiags in the brand’s signature colour, ash/sky blue. The looks were complete with faux leather trousers, shearling-lined faux fur coat, long leather gloves and maxi belts studded with metal rings, reminiscent of a pistolero’s cartridge belt when worn as shoulder straps to hold the bag.
The designer had already produced a few garments for Camper or Camperlab, but never a collection of his own. For autumn-winter 2024/25, he adopted oversized volumes and very loose cuts, à la Balenciaga, with large floor-length coats in a grey Princes of Wales pattern or black banker stripes. He combined these with tone-on-tone suits in revisited shapes, like a suit jacket with broad shoulders.
Coats were cut in half, with the bottom part transformed into an open-fronted skirt, layered over a pair of trousers worn with a suit jacket, all cut from the same checkered tweed. A collar stood out from the traditional men’s striped shirt, while suits were made in crumpled fabrics. These were not really a novelty, as they have been seen on the runway so many times before.
Alongside these revisited men’s wardrobe essentials, Achilles Ion Gabriel also followed a more streetwear vein to create a cool look with sweatshirts, baseball caps and shredded nylon cargos. The emphasis was on leather pieces. Traces of paint appeared to be drooling on some of the shiny black leather coats, while jackets and trousers looked like they had been scratched or scribbled on.
We were probably expecting more daring pieces from the designer, who mostly expresses his creative verve through details, like the ‘move bitch’, which could be read on the metal spikes of the cowboy boots… provided you had binoculars. The boots will certainly be one of the best-selling pieces.
Backed by two financial partners from his own circle, Achilles Ion Gabriel has his clothes made in Italy and the UK and has set up his studio in Paris.
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