In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Robert Motherwell intended his “Elegies to the Spanish Republic” to be a visual lamentation or funeral song. He described the Elegies as his “private insistence that a terrible death happened that should not be forgotten”. With a series of paintings characterized by severe black strokes against white canvases, he translated a synchronous emotional charge of a certain severity.
Reflecting on our own corollary to global events, Calvin Luo was drawn to the empathetic work of Robert Motherwell. While Moterwell’s story is mainly a black and white one, Luo was particularly struck by the way color punctuates the series. It is in this punctuation of color that Calvin saw a glimpse of hope. It was this moment that solidified Calvin to regard fashion as a medium for social development and change; to deliver a story in the now, all while dreaming of better days.
The CALVINLUO Spring/Summer 2021 collection is mainly an empathetic black and white story, accentuated with details and color. Like hope piercing through the monotony, childish optimism battling bitterness, innocence overtaking the harsh reality to an awakening.
This collection is severe for Calvin – angular silhouettes with black and white contrasts echo Motherwell’s rigidity. But pleats, flounces, gradient patches and floral embroidery all make Luo’s story a hopeful one; one that longs for the return of childlike notions, innocence and naivety.