Contemporary interdisciplinary artist Amanda Mehl presented her new collection of her brand, Mehl on Monday February 4 at Garber’s Hardware Store in New York’s youthful Greenwich Village. The collection was titled “Love Handles,” and was inspired by the artist’s vision to create unique relationships between real world objects and ready-to-wear garments. This conceptual show was indeed an eclectic, experimental venture of the designer whose interest in gender stereotypes and gender objectification made a hardware store the perfect place to house the show. The pieces spoke to trending social issues including sexuality and power dynamics.”My art often incorporates ‘readymade’ sculptures (found objects) so I consider my use of existing spaces, such as the hardware store in this case, the flower shop from my precious show and the debut school bus show to be readymade spaces.”
Mehl is quite the visionary. Her art reflects her fascination with the juxtaposition that lies between fashion and everyday objects. The garments were subversive, yet unmistakably beautiful in their presentation during the show. Models walked down the runway on an ordinary green tarp, wearing fabrics meant to mock luxurious laces and dainty bows, while others were sent down in stiff locks of metals accessorizing their foreheads. Some led plastic table clothes, contradicting the fluid silhouette of their garments. Each piece from the collection spoke to Mehl’s interest in incorporating various techniques of design, structure and material to conquer gender stereotypes and deconstruct the notion of binaries. The color palette reflected of the hardware stores rough decor, with shades of gold, splashes of neon green, animalistic prints, pearl whites, twilight blues, and stiff, translucent plastics sewn evenly onto several of the pieces.
The progressive, daring, and bold collection simultaneously confronts the power dynamic between male and female by taking ordinary, unglamorous found objects that we would otherwise disregard and transforming them into something beautiful and desirable that can be worn in the streets, giving off an air of sexiness and exciting spontaneity. The idea of how confrontational and powerful binaries are in fashion and the art involved in making something beautiful out of something found was executed beautifully in “Love Handles,” making for a memorable end to New York Fashion Week day one.