ThreeasFOUR Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2014 New York

Mer Ka Ba. Three syllables that find echoes throughout the three great monotheist religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and served as the starting point for the threeASFOUR Summer 14 collection, unearthing points of intersection in worship symbolism that stretch back to the beginnings of human civilization.

Gabi Asfour, Angela Donhauser, and Adi Gil have imbued their collection with a deep, poetic spirituality, and taken the patterns that serve as visual references to the collection from the architecture of sacred places. Mixing laser cutting and 3D-printing in various forms, they have enmeshed symbolic patterns together to form new patterns, just as their diverse origins (Lebanon, Tajikistan and Israel respectively) have created a font of amplifying inspiration. Presented as an installation, complete with projected components and even the gently wafting aroma of Aedes de Venustas’ parfum by Iris Nazarena – a cool, elegant scent that lingered on as the woodsy incense sillage of its base notes – this collection is one that transcends the distinctions of season to reach profound symbolism. The black and white color palette was echoed in the alternations of material and empty spaces, and brought together the designs without any distraction. It wasn’t powerfully in-your-face, but rather, grounded the senses like the solemnity of a religious sanctuary.

More importantly, it wasn’t outlandish. The trio may be on a more experimental route than most showing in New York, but at the end of the day, the clothes could still be imagined worn, rather than admired from afar. The 3D printing felt harnessed, rather than experimented with. A silk dress printed in the Mer Ka Ba design could definitely be pulled off, as could the laser-cut leggings. Even the placed origami designs that dressed a bolero would look rather fetching. Maybe not ‘as is’ for mass consumption, but the writing on the wall’s burning brighter than ever.

Showing in the Jewish Museum is no show time gimmick as the collective have also created a multimedia exhibition which is on view until early February 2014. A must-see is the half 6-pointed star “temple” which reflects in mirrored floors and echoes age-old geometric preoccupations and symbolism.

After the show, in lieu of the habitual rush to get cabs outside, some guests could be found in the Jewish Museum’s gift store, busily snapping up the threeASFOUR limited edition items available for sale as part of the Mer Ka Ba exhibition. Merchants of the Temple? Perhaps, but it may be one forgivable instance.

- Lily Templeton

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