Qasimi AW19 The Urban Ranger
A revival of the mythology of Urban Ranger lacing practicality with hedonistic adventure, and subtlety with daring self-definition
Walking down to the bottom of the colosseum-like venue where Qasimi’s autumn winter 19 collection was about to debut, guests were transported into an underground world. The sense of this underground world was felt literally ( my signal was nowhere in sight), but also emotionally as the tension imbued in the air. In front of seated guests, a three-floor long scaffolding of stairs was stacked against the theatre’s column plinths, a perfect nod to Qasimi’s tastes of intermingling classical and historical worlds with contemporary modernity. Before the show had even begun a feeling of suspense permeated from this structure in the air, but as the lights dimmed and pounding techno ensued from speakers, it was revealed that it was down this industrial container that the models would emerge, and our show had started.
The inspiration behind the collection was urban nomadism. In the press release, Khalid Qasimi, the brand’s creative director hinted that in the politically fragile time we are living in, with uncertainty becoming the norm, escapism and utopian pursuits for the self may be the only route to survival. This message came through considerably in looks featuring biker padding and Komono’s round-specs “Yoko’ sunglasses. Connecting to his UAE heritage, Qasimi made use of Arabic text. On sweatshirts and t-shirts statements like ‘A passion for something absent’ and ‘Lost as you are’ read like poetic fragment left in hiatus.
The models strutted down the runway in minimally styled looks – a soft layer here, an open button there, revealing what lay beneath. What united the wide range of casted models was an attitude of cool defiance and a style that was simplistic yet suave. The slightly oversized cuts of the garments, especially in the outerwear and jackets made of technical nylons, cashwool, fleece and denim, gave them a sense of power and purpose throughout the show. The colours of the collection nicely contrasted neutral and autumnal hues of camel, glacier grey, Persian plum and taupe, against pastel and acidic tones of lime, sorbet and peach.
The illustrated jackets made in collaboration with the artist Mel Odom have to be mentioned as a personal favourite of mine. Drawn in a style reminiscent the Shunga aesthetic, close-ups of mouth to mouth kissing made an ode to the lust that is a prominent feature in all lone cowboy’s adventures such as this. I was glad that this aspect of the narrative was not lost here.