The Berthold catwalk show at 180 The Strand is a collection made up of predominantly black menswear and womenswear. That’s why when the primary colours yellow, red and blue start to make an appearance, the impact is all the more striking. They crop up subtly in the details before they dominate the pieces from head-to-toe, as if they have completely engulfed the previous darkness and left in its place rays of sunshine.
The symbolism originates from a darker subject matter altogether. Research for the collection involved gathering photographs of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Liberia and Nigeria.
In one of the photographs, a group of young boys wear shorts with oversized pockets and belts that dwarf their frames. Yet still, they pose confidently, as though they are men – faking it until they make it, but betrayed by their ill-fitting clothes and youthful faces.
For Spring/Summer 2018, Berthold recreates these contrasts and documents the life-defining transition from boy to man. Enlarged sleeves are left loose to hang, extending past the models’ fingertips. Funnel necks are paired with cropped tunics and wrap front trousers are billowy rather than fitted.
Technical fabric and cloth, cottons and summer wools ensure you’ll stay cool in the heat rather than absorb it in all of those dark layers. Blankets (picnic, anyone?) are draped over cross-body bags. The bags – whether they’re oversized with several pockets or small and sit across the waist – make it easy to dip your toe into colour if you’re not willing to take the plunge just yet.
The colours allude to the optimism and brightness of youth. For the female models, sharp, geometric eye makeup created by Maria Comparetto is worn in the same primary colour palette.
The abstract graphic print reimagines shapes from traditional costumes. Influence is derived from the theatricality and majesty of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan, the Bashada people of Ethopia and the Ndebele and the Khoisan people of Southern Africa.
Now, we too, can join a tribe of our own – the Berthold tribe.
Austrian-born Raimund Berthold is the man behind the brand, which was established in 2009. He is now based in London and received his master’s from Central Saint Martins in 2005.