The Quiet Intrigue of A–Company
While attending the A–Company presentation I thought of the perennial fashion question “Do they see the dress or do they see you?” And people love to attend shows where they’re seeing the dress. Think Bjork in the swan dress or Lady Gaga in the meat dress or anyone on the recent Met Gala red carpet. Those are extremes, of course but they’re all instances where the garment overpowers the person rendering their essence invisible. And these are obvious celebrity examples, but many people vying for the street style photographer’s lens do the same.
The best opposite of this are clothes that are well constructed from good materials so that you see the person wearing them yet they also maintain their own visual interest. This is the sort that designer Sara Lopez makes for her line A–Company. She begins each season with an archetypal garment of the modern wardrobe, drawing upon multiple references and looking at the historical and cultural connotations of each piece.
This season her focus was on the t-shirt — typically understood as a casual garment, Lopez deconstructed and reformatted it throughout the collection, examining what happens when the t-shirt is made in more formal fabrics to denote decorum or is draped to appear as if it is falling away from or cut close to the body.
“Every style should be exciting in its approach to construction, challenging to both me and my collaborators, and wearable in a novel way,” Lopez said of how she knows when a piece should make its way into the final edit of garments each season.
Some of my favorite pieces include a bleached denim jacket that at first glance looks as though it’s layered, a one shoulder cropped black top from deconstructed t-shirts and a cornflower blue maxi dress with an asymmetrical hem. These pieces, along with the rest of collection, don’t demand your attention but instead are filled with small details that reward those who take the time to look.
One interesting element of the presentation was a moment where the models shared clothes. i.e. one model wore a coat and then handed it off to another model who would also wear it.
When asked about it Sara stated: “I’m very aware that luxury clothing is unaffordable to most. And it’s something I wrestle with often: how to make interesting clothing with fine sustainable materials and ethical production practices while also making them accessible. I sought to show the ability to share with friends, partners etc. We don’t wear everything in our closet every day, why not go in on pieces together and pass them around? Not in a uniform/unisex/normcore way, but in a sort of collective sharing.”
While this is an excellent idea in itself, for me this simple gesture in the context of a show resonated further: in this age of a pandemic and social distancing it was highly satisfying to witness a public moment of touching and interaction between people that are not “family members” but just in the world. A sense of “normal” that is also special. In a way that’s what A—Company gives us with this collection of clothes as well.