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Thread: Uncloaked - Alexandre Plokhov speaks about his new line

  1. #1

    Default Uncloaked - Alexandre Plokhov speaks about his new line



    Uncloaked
    Alexandre Plokhov speaks about his new line.

    The world of fashion quite often seems like a carousel – a spinning wheel of similarity that makes everything into a blur that dulls your senses. But once in a while a designer comes along and jams a stick into the wheel, and makes you pay attention. Such rare jolts are called fashion moments, and they make fashion exciting. Usually, these have to do with the introduction of a new aesthetic. Cloak’s Fall 2004 runway show, with its military jackets, leather pants, and chunky knits in which the long-haired models marched to a thumping Joy Division soundtrack, was definitely a fashion moment. It catapulted the hitherto unknown brand that existed since 1999 to cult status. New York finally got their own designer who understood what young men who grew up on Tarkovsky’s films and post-punk wanted – clothes that were their armor, their protection against society in which they felt uncomfortable and unwelcomed.

    Cloak, designed by a Russian expatriate Alexandre Plokhov, who in 1990 fled to the US on an international youth hockey visa, brought a breath of fresh air to the used up preppy Americana scene. His clothes were aggressive and decidedly masculine. “I felt really angry when I designed that collection,” Plokhov told me in the recent interview in his Flatiron showroom. And the clothes showed it in their severe geometric lines and hammered military brass buttons that reminded one of World War I uniforms.

    Unfortunately, Cloak’s heyday was short-lived. In 2007, Plokhov shuttered the label, despite overwhelming critical acclaim. “I’ve never talked about this before,” said Plokhov, “but I really closed Cloak not for financial reasons, but because I ran out of steam. It was too much. I really had no life – it was all about production. The cycle was closing in and I just couldn’t break it.”

    After closing the label, Plokhov had plenty of suitors. He interviewed with Dior and Burberry, but ultimately decided to try his hand at Versace. “I thought I would be allowed more freedom at Versace,” said Plokhov. “And I was, for the first season. I was a contract designer, so I don’t regret it. I think it worked for the better. I met Nicola, who is now in charge of production, I learned what they can do there; I worked with amazing people who know fabric and finishing, who can talk about shoulder pads for half an hour. It seems prosaic, but it’s actually very important. They are professionals – they are not in fashion in order to go parties.”

    After his contract expired, Plokhov was eager to get back to designing his own line without constraints that an existing house inevitably imposes. The new, eponymous line continues where Plokhov left off with Cloak. It is more mature, with more tailoring and cleaner lines, but with the same aggressive touches – sharp angles, streamlined, slim silhouette, and a few bondage straps to boot. “The aesthetics are pretty much the same,” said Plokhov, “but there is a progression. If anything, I see taking off where Helmut left. The base is the classic tailoring, and then you manipulate the silhouette.”

    Although there are slight echoes of Lang’s work, Plokhov’s aesthetic is decidedly his own, just like it was when he designed Cloak. Whereas Lang’s man was obliged to be in the office, but went to an S&M bar after work to be himself, Plokhov’s man never went to the office in the first place. A formal coat, made of untreated Italian wool, is betrayed by rough hardware closure and asymmetric zipper. Another coat has only one sleeve, with the shoulder looping around the armpit and held in place by an adjustable strap. On the fit model Plokhov paired it with a double-zip kangaroo jacket. The slim combat pants were also outstanding, especially in dark brown leather. For the less adventurous, there will also be a sartorial suit, totally handmade and with fully canvassed construction.

    Plokhov’s production also progressed since he moved his production to Italy and now uses mostly Japanese fabric. “In terms of fit and execution I was really limited at Cloak by what they can do here. I am not limited anymore. Each one – outerwear is made by one factory, tailoring by another factory. They are specialists who have the right equipment and the right people. I think if there was a benefit of working at Versace, it was the learning and understanding how they work. You have to go to the people who know how to make things, not to those that you need to teach.”

    Plokhov is confident in his new line. Only in its first season, he is taking it to Paris to show during the upcoming menswear fashion week. Speaking of his designs, Plokhov said, “I think every thing has to have a reason to exist. These are the kinds of things I would like to make.”

    by Eugene Rabkin

    photos by Alex Freund






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  2. #2

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    awesome! quite a lot of insight packed into these few paragraphs. this is the one line i'm genuinely anticipating. wish you could see more in the photos but the silhouettes look great. my appetite is whetted. nice to see what appears to be the first scoute/sz collab as well. keep it coming.

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    Thanks Mr. Lowrey and Mr. bossman for putting this together! Wish I could see the clothes better, but I guess it's a preview meant to wet one's appetite. Interesting to hear the backstory behind Cloak shutting down and glad to hear Plokhov's excitement in getting back to his own design work. I'm glad he's going high quality and has his production in order, can't wait till to see the full show and the clothes when they hit stores!
    Last edited by casem; 01-12-2011 at 08:34 PM.

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    this is fantastic, after a few seasons of uniqlo collabs and geller as the only flagbearer, this is exciting.

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    also, any details available about his paris presentation? when? where?

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    Genuinely excited for this.

    While I can't really decipher anything at all from the preview images, the accompanying information (especially the references to Helmut Lang) seems almost designed to hit all my personal buttons. I became interested in fashion through Cloak, but I've since moved more towards the sharper, idiosyncratically tailored stuff like Helmut and (early) Raf so anything that brings those influences together is aces in my book. Also, the hinted at improvement in terms of production (maybe this will mean no more occasional sizing (footwear) or finishing (buttons) issues) is welcome.

    In short; yay!

  7. #7

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    Excellent preview guys! Well done.

    You should correct the title though.. Uncloacked
    let us raise a toast to ancient cotton, rotten voile, gloomy silk, slick carf, decayed goat, inflamed ram, sooty nelton, stifling silk, lazy sheep, bone-dry broad & skinny baffalo.

  8. #8

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    I cant see a thing, but i like what i see.............

    "You have to go to the people who know how to make things, not to those that you need to teach.”

    this line says it all for me, you guys wouldn't know how this resonates.
    “You know,” he says, with a resilient smile, “it is a hard world for poets.”
    .................................................. .......................


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  9. #9
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    Really looking forward to this. Thanks for the preview.
    I do not recognise the vessel,
    but the eyes seem so familiar

  10. #10

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    Great read. Can't wait to see it.

    I could definitely see him doing great unconventional tailored wear fitting in nicely into my wardrobe.

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    You are welcome, everyone. I promise you to take photos while I am in Paris. Better yet, I will ask Lowrey to take them.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKA*NYC View Post
    awesome! quite a lot of insight packed into these few paragraphs. this is the one line i'm genuinely anticipating. wish you could see more in the photos but the silhouettes look great. my appetite is whetted. nice to see what appears to be the first scoute/sz collab as well. keep it coming.
    Second :-) Signals was first. Glad you like it - thank you.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  13. #13

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    thanks for the article, good read. about time menswear had a revitalizing jolt of Plokhov; it's been feeling pretty stagnant in stores lately, at least over here.
    www.matthewhk.net

    let me show you a few thangs

  14. #14

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    great read and a superb preview! really like the mood in the photos, though it's hard to get any from them. looking forward to runway shots

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    Great article, thank you. Pardon my question, will the line be called "Alexandre Plokhov" or will there be another name?

  16. #16

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    Brilliant review, and I'm really excited to see the clothes - I think I'll go and stroke my Cloak leather jacket fondly to celebrate!!!

  17. #17

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    I'm anticipating this more than any other collection this season. I wonder what stores will carry it in NY.

    Thanks a lot for the preview.

  18. #18
    kitsch killer Faust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ES3K View Post
    Great article, thank you. Pardon my question, will the line be called "Alexandre Plokhov" or will there be another name?
    "Eponymous," so yes :-) Lovely label too, Russian constructivist font, a la Rodchenko.

    Eternal, the hood thing is actually a hooded sweatshirt in washed cotton - awesome piece. I wish I was a bit taller to pull off the long tail.

    Ochre, you will know soon. I just don't want to say too much too early.
    Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months - Oscar Wilde

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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    "Eponymous," so yes :-)
    brilliant!

  20. #20

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    Thanks for the insightful preview, Faust. Very very excited for this!

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