An artistic duet

Amiri FW22: a craft-led LA homecoming featuring renowned artist Wes Lang
By Alex James Taylor | 10 February 2022

“Serendipity” was how Mike Amiri described it. Having originally been scheduled to show his FW22 collection as part of Paris Fashion Week, restrictions shifted and the designer saw an opportunity for a hometown blow-out – waving a proud flag to his hometown of Los Angeles, where it all began and continues to soar.

The collection itself was rooted in Los Angeles culture. In particular, the city’s thriving Arts District, where a unique LA signature is being carved – in which Mike and his team are key players. A very LA tale, Mike’s studio neighbours that of contemporary artist Wes Lang, and the two hang out on the regular: Mike collects Wes’ work and frequently hangs them in his stores. Naturally, chat turned towards work and ideas began to spark. Both informed by notions of hand-craft, Americana and folk artistry, the duo’s aesthetics criss-crossed towards a unique creative dialogue that cornerstones this season’s Amiri collection.

Not wanting to simply replicate Lang’s’ artwork, but reimagine it in tune with his own craft, Mike pulled down the walls between art studio and design house. Painted brushstrokes literally swept across coats and Lang’s signature Grim Reapers, Native American chiefs and tattoo motifs rose from the fabric as mixed-media interpretations. Threads surfaced and dripped from imagery and handpainted trompe l’oeil chiffon layering created delicate, ghostly impressions. Lush fabrics – shearling, faux fur, silk – become rich canvas as fabrics, tones and shapes blended to create unique, animated compositions. Coats crafted with the personality of blankets – with tassled hems left to move in the breeze – over loose cardigans over rollnecks over trailing scarves over wide-leg flares. Layer upon layer, the artist’s performance of reapproaching, retouching and reapplying was replicated within the looks.

Prior to the show, Mike explained how Lang and himself would spend time hanging out in their studios observing each other’s process and openly participate, question, share their own interpretations – that level of partnership clearly shows. Collaboration is now commonplace in today’s fashion, however true artistic partnership is rare – cherish it.

GALLERYCatwalk images from Amiri FW22