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Per Götesson explores cool Catalonian craftsmanship with Armand Basi

The Per Götesson x Armand Basi collection has arrived.

By Joseph Kocharian

Image: Joseph Kocharian

“I was surprised and excited by how camp it was,” Per Götesson explains, pointing to images of muscled men with buzzcuts wearing skin-tight sleeveless tank-tops from the Spanish brand Armand Basi. As we chatted, the models for the Per Götesson x Armand Basi collection stood and skulked broodily amongst the memorabilia, displayed in vintage cabinets, bathed in warm brassy lights, in chamber of a traditional Illas (the block-formation apartment blocks that uniformly sprawl through the Catalonian city.)

The collection is not only an exploration of the Armand Basi archive by Götesson, but also of Barcelona, its buildings and its people. Everything has been carefully curated, right down to the casting of the models. The London-based designer showed me his camera roll that was full of hundreds of photographs he took on repeat visits to Barcelona, to document and research the people and places of the city to truly be immersed in their culture. “I had to understand who was living here. A piece of the puzzle (from designing from the archive) was missing (for me.) I had to understand what it was like to be young in Barcelona, while understanding the history.” History and legacy is all present in the clothing, right down to nuanced touches, including a button from the 1993 archive, that has been repurposed into an earring.
“I wanted to imagine the people in the archive collection having kids, and who they would be.” he explained to me as I watched, models, skaters, design students, craftsmen, athletes and artists saunter from chamber to chamber, wearing the collection. Community is important to the capsule. “I found Catalonian culture is not scared of expressing themselves.” Tapping into into the cool Catalonian capital, with its openness marries perfectly with the minimalist, chic luxury of Armand Basi, with a focus of workmanship, utility and craft.

Image: Joseph Kocharian

Architecture and the relaxed coolness of the youth of Barcelona have been woven into the aesthetics of the collection, but there is also the spirit of craftsmanship. Hybridised trousers made from Hainsworth wool and Japanese-sourced Nylon have an apron-style panel a the front, with utility-style pockets are an ode to the the artist and their workshop. Vest tops and shirting are relaxed, and spliced through with striking graphic lines evoking the symbiosis of the city grids with the relaxed coolness of the city. Tailored jackets, an integral part of the brand’s DNA have been cut loose and intercepted with strong lines to work with the natural contours of the body. There are plenty of clean lines, including a Y-shapes back, and oversizing on elevated knits and tailoring that mean that the capsule truly have a unisex context, with the silhouettes changing depending on the wearer, which explores the complex notions of masculinity. There is a softness and fluidity to the clothes, with harder archival lines, that blend perfectly together. A collaborative logo stamps the collection to further the cohesion between the designer and the brand, again, a nod to the Illas cluster and the notions of heritage.

As well as the clothes, the craftsman tools have also been explored. Götesson’s partner and on-going collaborator Husam El Odeh has created jewellery pieces to accompany the collection, referencing architecture again, with tools and stationery such as silver rulers and pencils, one cleverly incorporated onto a metal framed cap, to look like it was casually tucked behind the ear of the subject, like they’re having a moment’s relax from creating.

There is a deconstructed rigidity paired with the softer, liquidity to the pieces, in a muted palette, with punches of blues and greens that really gives the collection the idea of craftsmanship, and the process of playing with shapes, masculinity & femininity done in the studio. Paired with key cutting and metal tools, there has been incredible craft and care to bring out the coolness in the collection.

The collection will be available in February 2024

Image provided by Per Götesson and Armand Basi. Photography Alexandra Cepeda