Crimson-faced, hair hanging limply, sweat threatening to pearl their skins, the models of Stephanie Hahn's 22/4_Hommes presentation matched the guests perfectly as the mid-afternoon heat turned the designer's venue into a steamy broiler. The date disk invitation said 4PM and no one would have dreamed of meter-feeding to prolong a stay in the sweltering Garage Turenne.
The sportswear-meets-tailoring spiel is as overstaffed as the Parisian subway during the recent taxi strikes. To emerge in this field takes an uncommon proposal, which the German designer posited by offering gender-neutralized designs in the form of patterns taking body shapes, rather than gender, into consideration. Yet, by continuously mining the same conceptual space, Hahn confines herself to exploring the inroads between male and female silhouettes, leaving a significantly reduced corpus. With variations on the trench coat, on the blazer, on athletic details, Hahn returned to the tropes of her design, hoping for the perfect balance. She achieved some measure of it in an evening blazer with pearl closure (for her and him), or in the beige trifecta of a bustier dress, double breasted coat, and jumpsuit. This time around, her womenswear felt polished while her menswear seemed caught up in an over-intellectualized web.
Seen up close, the brand holds the attention, but on the runway, the overall appeal melted away like ice cream on a hot summer day, leaving a difficultly legible picture.