To the moon! That’s where Ibrahim Kamara delivered us this morning, way more efficiently than any crypto bro. Following last season’s transitional cap-doff in the direction of his irreplaceable multi-hyphenate predecessor Virgil Abloh, this was effectively Kamara’s first fully authored mainline show at Off-White. Kamara has a high hyphen count himself (editor-stylist-and-now-designer): For this one, however, he had to drown out the competing voices and shape a fresh and distinct narrative for the house with which he has been entrusted. This was achieved by deploying a journey metaphor that was simultaneously personal (the West African source material, especially in pattern and fabric), and recognizably Off-White (the industrial hardware, the feminized varsity pieces, the utilitarian strapping). Ingeniously a third element neatly sidestepped all earthbound partisanship: as mentioned at the top, we were in our own orbit.
The entry to the Tennis Club de Paris was a Kubrick-esque docking corridor. From it we emerged into an expansive sunlit lunar landscape, all reddish sand and rocks that the models sometimes kicked as they strode through it. The centerpiece was a huge mirrored orb whose fish-eye reflection let fashion’s ragtag regulars—as diverse as any Mos Eisley cantina crowd—see themselves in space-traveled situ. Backstage pre-show, already in the gold net top that he would take his bow in alongside Naomi Campbell, Kamara explained how this collection was a continuation of the pre, this time called Lunar Delivery. “Every look is very considered: I like to work 360,” he said: “But we also discovered new things as we developed the concept.”
His own journey’s starting point was obliquely referenced in the red earth of that “moondust” that also mirrored the rich alluvial ochre of unpaved roads across West Africa. This color bled into several looks after the space-black openers cut with constellations of gleaming metal grommets. Later there would be rubberized outerwear in prints based on a photo Kamara had taken of a derelict house in his Sierra Leone birthplace. We shifted into transport via indigo County Cloth inspired dye prints in wheel-reminiscent patterns. The tire-necked dress, tire-topped mini-pannier, tire print shorts, wheeled eyelet earrings, tire bracelets and entertaining indicator light shoes moved that notion forward. Map-print dresses and shoes showed this was a journey from A to B.
You could see quite a lot of London, Kamara’s home, in the many pleated skirted kilts and dresses. This punkish detail was ingeniously meshed with an Off-White on-point sleeveless bomber jacket dress whose vertical pleats were deployable via zipper. There were many beautiful knitwear pieces, loosely strung together and mapped with raggedly open sections that contrasted with the lines of pearlescent beading that hung from them. As we approached our landing point, the looks seemed spacier. An impressive gabardine edged in grommeted black fabric was regally non-traditional. A knee-sliced silver space-esque suit was followed by the tire pannier and then an intricately beaded and hardwared bomber and shorts. We had reached our destination. “Punk, romantic, sexy,” said Kamara: “those are the three words I keep coming back to.” In a season full of 20th-century classicism, Off-White’s furthering of its founder’s 21st century codes gave it a valuable point of difference from which to expand its orbit.