This past week, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week gathered designers, artists, and celebrities alike to showcase the upcoming season’s designs. German designer and provocateur Patrick Mohr, fabled for defiant runway shows and transgressive designs, featured bearded and bald models sporting relatively wearable clothes. A color palette of bold reds and oranges juxtaposed with canvas tones, the collection was a series of naturally unisex clothing, with some noticeable pieces resembling boxer shorts, all of which comprised the collection. Mohr has cultivated a reputation that straddles street wear and high art, having rejected conventional expectations of runway glamor.
… for the Autumn/Winter 2010 – 2011, Mohr’s collection “Are We Shaved?“ included bunny-faced models whose body types were, to say the least, unexpected on the runway — body builder muscles, fake boobs, visible scars, and orange spray tans were only some of the many “outlandish” subjects as far as the traditional modeling world is concerned. When describing the conceptual roots of his work, Mohr explains, “In the end, it always comes down to one thing: men and women are one. I only see one human being, one person. For me, it all starts from that perspective.” Mohr perhaps imagines the distinction between men and women as both laughable and violent, and that’s a notion that many can agree with. Reactions to the artist’s bearded models vary in degree of confusion and bewilderment, but it suffices to say that his point was well-driven.
However, Mohr received criticism for his 2009 show, “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions,” when homeless persons strutted down the catwalk alongside professional models. The esoteric aesthetic of this particular highly conceptual collection was inspired by his identification as a “ragpicker.” Mohr asserts,
“I see myself as one. Life is made up of the different experiences and impressions, good and bad, that we collect throughout their lives. Faith and destiny can be cruel, and we carry them around with us like bits and pieces we find on the street.”
Having accessorized his show with the homeless, Mohr contends:
“When you see a homeless person, you never know what brought him there, who he is, what his personal story is. I try to see beyond that, see the heart behind the facade. It makes me happy to see them wear my clothes, take part in a world usually inaccessible to them.”
Indeed, the exclusive and virtually “inaccessible” world of haute couture fashion, is a grand stage for fantasies, dreams, opulence, and extremity. Mohr’s challenging presentation of his most recent collection is a post-modern fantasy: individual expression that countervails sex and gender. The dialogue between his clothes and his models produces a riveting anti-hero aesthetic, reminiscent of the “different experiences and impressions … that we collect throughout our lives.” The baggy, hyper-modern bohemian paired with beards and coned bald heads imagines time as non-linear. Mohr creates a sense of time that is static, but immediate. Specifically, transforming models into their worst nightmares, Mohr interprets fertility against conventional couture norms.
His motto on life? “I enjoy every single day.”
What about you, what do you think? Pretty rad, huh?