One of those brands that is just plain attractive is Peter Do. The clothing the Vietnamese designer and his team design in New York blends a simplicity that is as obvious as it is jarring with a vision that is complex and sharp, but most importantly, incredibly personal. This is true of knitwear, slacks, shirts, and boots elevated on exquisite platforms. The brand’s love of flowing draperies, pleated fabrics, hammered leather, and geometric lines so pure as to appear abstract had already elevated Do’s creations to the exclusive realm where Helmut Lang’s, Martin Margiela’s, and Phoebe Philo’s Cèline – formerly Do’s mentor who trained in the British designer’s atelier – coexist. Therefore, it was only a matter of time before the public would embrace these same fluid and classic lines combined, so amusingly deconstructed, as divorced from the distinction of genres, and before Peter Do himself would decide to eventually expand his products with a male collection.
That’s what happened yesterday during the brand’s SS23 show, held in New York City on the 59th floor of the Liberty Building, where K-Pop star Jeno, a member of NCT, signaled the brand’s turnaround by opening the show with a look-symbol of Do’s menswear: a wide pair of pants with shiny silk pleats and side slits, very tall boots, and a satin lapel blazer buttoned at the A triangle-shaped cutout of a jacket and shirt that hangs behind the back has flaps that are secured at the base of the back by a small bow that is tucked behind an extremely long strap to resemble a train. Aside from sheer tank tops, skirts, and sashes, there are also massive handbags, delicate tie-dyes that mimic the colors of the sky above New York, silky textures, mirror-covered sleeves that resemble romantic studs, leather trench coats, and clothing made of Tomtex, a plastic-free vegan leather made with waste from the fishing industry.
Do’s subtly subversive approach is immediately apparent from the first glance, which is so straightforward on paper but also so theatrical. In the rest of his menswear designs, he takes conventional and sometimes downright boring elements of men’s eveningwear, like the bib dress shirt, and modifies their structural components to create something fresh. Shirts that could be fastened at the bottom and left open at the chest, effectively looking like a cross between traditional Western attire and a cross-lapelled tunic reminiscent of Vietnamese tradition, were another key component of the men’s collection. The final product of Peter Do’s work yesterday went far beyond citations, references, and debts to the past to produce menswear that, despite appearing to be genderless, conveys a sense of relevance, absolute modernity, and above all, timeless originality. In fact, Peter Do has previously incorporated Vietnamese suggestions into the fits and proportions of his looks.
The collection as a whole exudes a sense of seraphic calm in which a dress’ fluidity, its revealing of details of the male body, or its challenging of the parameters of male costume is not a revolutionary gesture but rather something given, which has always existed and which creates a balance with the all the designs.Although the show’s theme was the slowing down of time as a result of emotions, a poetic nexus of biographical and philosophical suggestions, inspired by the designer’s father’s painful passing but also characterized by a strange and lucid stillness, Peter Do is, in some ways, speaking about our time and society. What he says is as follows:
The actual dying part, the crossing over, felt like the Matrix Bullet Time or even the Zeno’s Paradox; it was the time splitting, then splitting, splitting splitting splitting forever. Honestly, and this will make me sound old, but I figured if the rest of my life felt this endless, I couldn’t handle it. I could not stand it at all. Then I wondered, and this is the part I wanted to share with you, “What if we lived here?” Right now. What kind of opulence is that? […] I would feel so fortunate as I gazed into the eyes of my friends, my family, you, and myself. Maybe grace rather than even luck. There’s the idea that grace is something you cannot earn. You do not receive less because you are unworthy.. There’s the idea that grace is something you cannot earn. Because you are undeserving and unable to manipulate it for more, you do not receive less. It only exists in limitless but measurable proportions, carrying you for a short while when you are unable to run.