‘It was the whole idea of going deeper, of finding more than can be seen at first glance,’ said Anest Collective contributing creative director Brendan Mullane of the Shanghai- and Milan-based label’s S/S 2022 collection, which drew inspiration from the illusory works of French painter Pierre Soulages and the photographic technique of double-exposure.

Playful visual flourishes – subtle moments of trompe l’oeil, unexpected hybrid garments, elements sliced away and re-appliqued back on for ‘echoes’ of their original forms – were found throughout the collection, often only visible on close inspection (or, indeed, when the pieces were worn on the body). ‘It appears to be much more simple and pure than it actually is,’ Mullane said of the collection on its release. ‘You get a trace of something that isn’t quite there.’

This past week in London, Mullane added another visual layer to the season, drafting British artist Sam Lock to create a series of original works inspired by the collection’s various garments. Displayed during a breakfast at MTArt Agency’s artists’ space, the resulting 10m-long drapes ran around the room’s edges and across the central table (after the event, the tablecloth was sliced into squares, giving each attendee their own artwork to take home). Comprising a series of abstract gestures in paint, Lock says that his work is defined by a feeling of movement – one he says he was drawn to in the collection itself.

Anest Collective and Sam Lock collaboration

‘When Brendan and I first met via video call, we were struck by the synergy between our ideas; we spoke about fragmentation, movement, time and timelessness,’ Lock tells Wallpaper*. ‘The drapes I made for the project are full of marks that document waves of action painting. This movement also features in the collection itself, the strong silhouettes come to life on the body in unexpected ways, they become dynamic forms.’

Of the synergy between Mullane and himself, Lock returns to the S/S 2022 collection and its title, ‘More Than the Eye Can See’. ‘One of the aims we both strive for is for the things we make to reveal themselves slowly, that the longer you spend with them, the more you find out,’ says Lock. ‘Brendan looks at fashion design from the inside-out, driven by how the design feels, rather than just its aesthetic – I think of the quote by the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, which describes “style as the outside of substance”.’

‘Seeing our collection close to [Sam’s] paintings felt totally organic,’ adds Mullane. ‘I think the most important thing we share is that we know the underlying hidden processes that are involved in creation and how they are so fundamentally important. With this collaboration, it was almost like we were finishing each other’s sentences.’ §

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