SS23 Icons of Mystery


For SS23, AV Vattev cultivates an air of moody playfulness with Icons of Mystery – a collection that willfully blurs casual pragmatism, ceremonial sartoriality and brooding sensuality. Nodding to the quietly subversive personal style of Princess Kalina of Bulgaria – known for pairing artisanally embroidered vests and spiked leather dog collars; austere tailoring and gold, Cleopatra-braid headdresses – the London-based label’s latest offering is charged with a similar irreverence.


 Staples are revisited and refined. The slick, formal rigour of the rhomboid-strapped Jukebox silhouette is loosened, interpreted here as boxy blazers in black and khaki cotton gabardine, a white leather vest, and tonal, zippered jersey hoodies with upward-lurching hems. A slightly cropped Harrington jacket features webbed, hexagonal panelling across the chest, with a tonal navy wool and cerulean jacquard version introducing a subtly bohemian spirit. Building on the brand’s early knitwear experiments, rigidly structured shirts and wide-legged bermudas are all-over bonded with surplus swatches of lime and cream cable knit, eliciting a subtle contrast between the expected softness of the textile and the pieces’ geometric proportions. Bishop-sleeved shirts in dusky black and monochrome plaids are cut from gauzy chiffon. 


They’re both counterposed and complemented by the collection’s stern-yet-sensual glossy black leather pieces – high-necked gilets, wrap kilts with asymmetrical waistbands, calf-high cuben heeled boots – that allude to the sculptural works of Richard Serra. Specific inspiration is drawn from the American artist’s Belts (1966-67) – a series of works comprising snaking strips of vulcanised rubber – which notably inform the season’s range of wide-leg leather trousers, featuring an interlocking laser-cut interpretation of AV Vattev’s signature lozenge grid pattern. 


Styled by Robbie Spencer, and shot by Lola & Pani, the season’s lookbook embodies this spirit of contrast between a sculptural rigidity and a looser, more free-spirited quality. A clean-edged, stonewashed riff on the label’s Rave jeans – styled with wide Halishte wool belts – pair as intuitively with a lacquered Jukebox hoody as with a smart-casual notch-lapelled jacket; slashed shorts and cutout trousers suggest a forward sexiness when worn over bare legs, and bring rich textural plays to the fore when styled with denim and knit underlays.