Deafening whistles accompanied by tweeting birds was how Berthold SS18 collection chose to welcome us. Stark contrasting sounds reverberated throughout the room, while flashing lights blinded our eyes. The music was ominous disclosing to prepare for something intense, something severe.
Models united in their troops in preparation of war - marching down the runway to the beat of tribal drums. Covered in dark draping coats that engulfed the hands. Oversized and overbearing, but with a notion of cool. This was it now – innocent faces with a false sense of confidence passing us by. A betrayal of youth in a sense, however, amongst a background of black, youthfulness sprang through. The boys were clothed in short baggy shorts and blazing bits of golden yellows alongside bright blues and sunset reds – appealing to youth’s optimism and brightness. Primary colours stretched out in front of us and embraced the catwalk. Crisp fabrics extended towards the neck and acted as protection from the rain, the wind or the sun. Berthold was prepared for any and all climates.
The show provided a glimpse into what Raimund Berthold refers to as “the tragedy of radicalisation to the joy of tribal belonging” - inspiration deriving from photographs of child soldiers in Uganda and Sierra Leone. “A boy of about 14 stares right into the lens, chewing a cigarette with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder; the thick epaulets and fat cuffs of his fatigue betray his adult role”. A bold collection came to life, exhibiting clothing that showcased youthful hardship in decorous shapes. From day to day, shifting weathers and attitudes leave you unready for unforeseeable scenarios. Everywhere is a possible war zone, but at least now there’s Berthold to keep us prepared.
Words by Ellen Coyle.
Photography by Aylen Torres.