"Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life."
The London-based Taiwanese designer draws inspiration from cinematic hit Call Me by Your Name, marking its one year UK premiere anniversary
One year ago, Luca Guadagnino’s film adaptation of the 2007 André Aciman novel Call Me by Your Name premiered in cinemas in the UK. The heart-wrenching tale about an affair between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and American college student Oliver (Armie Hammer) left us lamenting over their bittersweet love and yearning for a lazy summer trip to Northern Italy, where the film is set.
One year later, the film has won several awards including the Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay; 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet has established himself as the new teenage heartthrob; and the first unisex fashion collection inspired by the film showcased earlier this month at Tokyo Fashion Week.
The designer behind the collection is Johan Ku. He reinterpreted the romance drama through his SS19 collection Elioliver, a name combination that also represents the intertwining relationship between the two protagonists. Founding his namesake design studio in 2005, the now London-based Taiwanese is known for incorporating his love for cinema into fashion, and this season is no exception.
Andrew Weng, a Taiwanese senior fashion PR specialist based in Shanghai, says: “The film speaks to me on a personal level. And as a professional PR, the creativity and meanings behind Elioliver are worth promoting and perfect for storytelling as well.”
Print is a staple in this collection. Ku heavily references scenes designed by Roberta Federico, the art director for the film who also worked with Guadagnino on his 2015 film A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton.
Renaissance sculptures, succulent fruit on breakfast tables, literature and music sheets stacked together – the sentiments of these objects is captured through the digitally-printed pleated shirts, knitted jacquard tops, and graphic jackets.
Although the featured textiles are simple, the various textures, gentle lighting and hazy hues translated through the graphic designs gave the fabrics an extra layer of vibrancy. Pastel-coloured blocks are also an unmissable element amidst the garments. Sky blue, cotton candy pink and duck yellow make up the colour palette that hints at the celebration of the sensual homosexuality in the film.
This also echoes with the annual gay pride parade on October 27 in Ku’s home country, where a historic vote on same-sex marriage is taking place next month, making Taiwan the first government in Asia to embrace marriage equality for different sexualities.
Ku has proved once again how art and fashion always go hand in hand. And in this case, the lyrical cinematic language is perfectly portrayed.
The Elioliver collection is now available for pre-order on the official website.
*This article is originally published on _shiftlondon
Meg is a full-time fashion journalism student at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She moved to London at the age of 18 to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer.