by Stephen Garner

In keeping with past seasons, the Linder menswear spring/summer ‘20 collection finds its beauty in the tension between character and environment.

The collection centers around a figure often encountered on the streets of New York: a sensitive young man of privileged background. This is a person who must navigate the conflict between his artistic sensibility, a refinement which his upbringing encouraged, and the external expectations of pedigree and class, such as collegiate success [style cues throughout allude to Ivy League, including a deconstructed cricket sweater, a collaboration for with the classic stripe shirt brand Breton worn by James Dean among other famous prepsters, the use of plaid fabrics, and vintage sport stripes found on blazers and hoodies]. The allure of culture and artistic pursuits clashes with the dogma of dynastic success, and this weighs heavily on an ultimately fragile person.

The visuals for the collection are inspired by the work of Thomas Struth and Tina Barney, portraits of families at home in their socks that depict an intriguing casualness within their rigid environment. Images outside the home offer another glimpse of escape, of a place to breathe.

The motif of horses appears throughout this collection as a symbol for a free-spirit which has been bred and trained to execute the will of a dispassionate “superior” force. This imagery also connotes the leisure-sports of the upper class: dressage, horse racing, and polo. Society “breaks” these animals at a young age to ready them for these performative displays of wealth, but the clash between a wild heart and the strict demands of high-society often results in an individual who is skittish, temperamental, and sensitive [silk scarves, a signifier of class, take the form of a giant care label, which implies the wearer’s delicate temperament].

“Though this season imagines the life and look of a fictional character, I find myself drawn to him in the way he reflects my own story,” said Sam Liner, creative director. “I was never cut-out to adhere to my family’s expectations. My unique sensitivities caused friction and a sense of otherness within my community, and yet offered refuge from a life ill-suited to me. Fashion became a way I could nerd-out and still pursue something that spoke to my internal self. With this collection, I use fashion just as I did when I was 17: to create a dream world that I can inhabit, one that feels far from daily life in an increasingly unfeeling world.”