Photographs Courtesy of HYPEBAE
WINDOWSEN teased the airing of their SS23 show, THE REINCARNATION OF MX. RIDICULOUS, with an Instagram post accompanied by comment from Erykah Badu that simply reads: “inspired by baduizm.” Baduizm, Badu’s debut album, mirrors WINDOWSEN’s collection in its unique blend of eras and inspirations. Vibe magazine hailed Baduizm as a “conduit of awakening of something dark, familiar and long slept”– a description that marvelously illustrates not only the album, but the WINDOWSEN show as well.
The show is a parade of dragons, sea monsters and reimagined aliens. It is a physical manifestation of myths heard during childhood, a mix of history and imagination thrust into the modern world. Each piece features some sort of exaggerated and otherworldly texture, color, protrusion, or all of the above, reminiscent of costume and transforming human models into glamorous monsters. The models charge down the runway with the whimsical fierceness that could only come from the supernatural creatures that the collection so closely evokes. It is as if the monsters from the deep corners of our minds and fables have finally awoken from ages of slumber and come to remind us– loudly and brazenly so– that they are here to once again reign over our imaginations.
The use of texture makes the show purely interactive, even for a virtual audience: viewers of the show cannot help but long to reach out and touch the woolly furs, metallic spikes, silky annuli, and vividly colored cloaks that go by. The audience watches their dreams and nightmares come to life simultaneously on the runway: seeing these creatures of the night standing before them, they feel transported back to a state of childlike reverence and thrilling fear. WINDOWSEN knows how to cast paradoxical ripples in the audience’s mind, unsettling them while making them crave more.
THE REINCARNATION OF MX. RIDICULOUS reimagines traditional couture not only through textiles, but through movement as well. Models don’t walk down the runway– they stomp, prowl, stalk, and slink their way across and around the stage, each adopting the spirited character of their outfit in their own unique way. In doing so, they not only revive but also electrify, the myths of the past.
WINDOWSEN masterfully toes the line between what’s never before been seen and fables of the past, conjuring up memories of ancient tales that reside in the parts of our souls bequeathed by our ancestors. Evoking a dizzyingly addictive blend of emotions, nostalgia and marvel, the label’s SS23 collection twists the viewer’s perspective on time and reality. A makeshift runway in Shanghai houses the reincarnation of the imagination’s most untamed, inexplicable creatures, emboldening members of the audience to embrace their inner wild as well.