Emerging from the corners of what appears to be an abandoned industrial building, a group of gorgeous young people walk in sad single file down flights of concrete until they meet at a long, white, richly decorated table surrounded by simple block-style stools. A dinner sophisticated dinner party is apparently about to start, and yet no one looks very happy — even though they have forsaken masks, are sitting reasonably close together and wearing the latest collection from the emerging Toronto-based fashion brand Mr. Saturday.
Initially unveiled in late Feburary as part of the digital New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Mr. Saturday’s short film takes an unexpected turn when a final guest arrives to sit at the end of the table. Everyone’s heads pivot towards him with interest.
He climbs up atop the table, wearing a black tie and white shirt with a print of what appeared to be Queen Elizabeth I on the lower back, and begins dancing with an abandon (and self-possession) that suggests he is trying to summon up a forgotten god to appear. Finally, everyone is smiling. After a lockdown as existential as it has been literal, Mr. Saturday is ready to celebrate a collective sense of, if not complete relief, an anxious release.
Founded by designer Joey Gollish and launched in 2017 as a luxury direct-to-consumer fashion label, Mr. Saturday has evolved beyond its online roots and opened its first physical store in Toronto’s Queen St. West area last November, just before the second wave of COVID-19 forced all retailers to close their doors again.
Undeterred, however, it was clear from the NYFW shows that Gollish has been busy during quarantine thinking deeply about what people yearn for about the past, along with what will make them feel comfortable and empowered once pandemic restrictions finally lift.
A Detailed Look at ‘Both Directions At Once’
Almost from the moment the novel Coronavirus disrupted life as we know it, for example, there has been rampant speculation (and sometimes a sense of hope) that our vaccinated future will be akin to the revitalized economies and cultures that blossomed following the end of the First World War. If the Roaring Twenties were our reward last time, the thinking goes, why not this time?
Mr. Saturdays’ F2021 collection, dubbed ‘Both Directions at Once,’ explores that idea with style but also a degree of skepticism. In a press release I was sent to accompany the NYFW digital show, the brand said the clothes were inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s novel, ‘Vile Bodies,’ which satirizes young, wealthy people – dubbed “Bright Young Things” – partying in London in the 1920s.
“The collection focuses on the parallels between the generation of “Bright Young Things” and the current generation, highlighting the importance of persistence in youth cultures as a form of protest and progress.”Mr. Saturday
A key difference between the book and the collection, perhaps, is that Waugh’s characters — including a gossip columnist — try to invent fashion trends out of thin air. One begins publishing stories about a supposed surge of interest in green bowler hats, for example, whereas in actuality menswear in the 1920s tended to stick to neutral tones.
Instead of pulling ideas at random, Gollish’s clothes (which also included womenswear), are much more deliberate in weaving historical consciousness into contemporary attire. After more than a decade of slim-to-skinny fits, for example, Mr. Saturday is among those labels recognizing it will be easier to transition from sweats by pulling on shirts and pants that are oversized and even unstructured.
For me, this worked best on items like a sweater, where the sleeves ended with a cuff that looked like an ionic column and the rollneck was almost protectively solid:
Elsewhere, there was more of a traditional snugness the layering of patchwork jackets that looked combat-ready yet somehow extremely relaxed.
Classic bomber jackets, meanwhile, were made with what Mr. Saturday described as upcycled fabric from vintage World War II, along with trench coats and new puffer jackets.
What I enjoyed most, however, were the surprises, like this sleeveless vest with bright red and white stripes that blended a Preppy sensibility with the biker boy seriousness of black leather pants:
On many of these jackets, shirts and sweaters Gollish has included an embroided slogan — “Good luck” that bring to mind the uncertain world that awaits us this Fall.
While some of the prints and detailing are bold in this collection, the overall impression is one of eager wariness. We all want the 2020s to roar, in a good way. But we want to dress so that our bodies are as prepared for the vile as for victory. In that sense, Mr. Satruday’s F21 “Both Directions At One” collection will give you plenty of choice of what to wear all week long.