Contemporary interdisciplinary artist Amanda Mehl presented the new collection of her brand, Mehl, on Monday, 4 February at Garber’s Hardware Store in New York’s youthful Greenwich Village. The collection was titled "Love Handles," inspired by the artist’s vision to create unique relationships between real-world objects and well-made garments. The conceptual show was indeed an eclectic, experimental venture of the designer whose interest in gender stereotypes and gender objectification made a hardware store the perfect place to house this influential collection that spoke to sexuality and power dynamics alike. "My art often incorporates 'readymade' sculptures (found objects) so I consider my use of existing spaces, such as the hardware store, in this case, the flower shop from my precious show and the debut school bus show to be readymade spaces."
As a creator who is fascinated by the juxtaposition of fashion with everyday locales, the garments were subversive, yet unmistakably beautiful. Models walked down the runway, an ordinary green tarp in this case, in found fabrics meant to mock luxurious lace while others were sent down in stiff locks of metals accessorizing their foreheads. Some led plastic table clothes, contradicting the fluid silhouette that they walked down the catwalk in. Each piece from the collection spoke to Mehl’s interest in incorporating various techniques of design, structure, and material. The color palette reflected of the hardware stores rough decor, with shades of gold, splashes of neon green, animalistic prints, pearl whites, twilight blues, and stiff, translucent plastics sewn evenly onto several of the pieces.
The progressive and bold collection simultaneously confronts the power dynamic between male and female by taking ordinary, unglamorous found objects that we would otherwise disregard and transforming them into something beautiful and desirable that can be worn in the streets, giving off an air of sexiness and exciting spontaneity. The idea of how confrontational and powerful binaries are in fashion and the art involved in making something beautiful out of something found was executed beautifully in "Love Handles," making for a memorable end to New York Fashion Week day one.