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Nom De Guerre - Spring/Summer 2010

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If it is true that the great ideas often arise from conflict, Nom De Guerre is not only the epitome of such a saying, but also lives up to its own name as it has built it's last 10 collections without wavering from the theme of war. Literally meaning "name of war" in English, Nom De Guerre, is known for building their collections with elaborate historical battles and anecdotes not just with inspiration, but with adaptation. Last Spring/Summer, the label drew design components from the English calvary unit to present their take on expressions of youth, freedom and military ideologies.

This year, the label taps into the mid 20th century Algerian War to create a sartorial examination of political oppression, rebellion and circumvention of Algeria. A little background, the Algerian War is a conflict between France and Algeria which eventually resulted in Algeria's hard-fought independence from France. As of modern decolonization wars, it was a complex war involving  guerrilla warfare, extensive terrorism against the civilians with use of torture on both sides.

Just like the near-decade long war itself, the collection is split into two factions with half inspired by the French colonial army and the other by civilian-based counter insurgency forces. Thus, the divide was a juxtaposing subtle and blatant-- some looks pair military elements with everyday clothing, while the others are heavily inspired by uniform. Even though the designs remain closely redolent of military uniforms, the clothing are executed with refined contemporary detail which softens the toughness of the pieces. Military button down shirts are cut slim attentively constructed for a finely polished touch. Elaborately woven and plaited links adorned the shirts from shoulder to collar in a lopsided manner that is fresh yet immediately reminiscent of French colonial forces. Slim monochrome ties and smartly tailored pants (sometimes cropped) are worn with pride with the shirts and topped off with sharp blazers featuring contrasting lapels or fine khaki bombers and trench coats.

For the opposing faction, shirts with rolled up sleeves are worn unbuttoned at the top over singlets and under hefty speckled monochrome M65 jackets. Matching pants are slim in volume but cut longer to create a rugged scrunch when tugged into combat boots. The overall palette remains neutral, true to the Nom De Guerre aesthetics we are familiar with. Aside from a plaid button down, the rest of the colors stick to uniform staples of khaki, olive, black, white, grey and navy.

Aside from sartorially translating the tortured history of the Algerian war, the label also took another metaphorical leap by creating an impression of other dominant ideas of that time through the simultaneous incorporation of both factions. For example, the paradoxical collection expressed the concept of montage used in French New Wave Cinema of the time. It is also inspired by the aesthetics of Chris Marker by attempting to parallel the director's use of disjointed journalistic film footage into a coherent narrative.

Take a look through the highly narrative lookbook and peruse it in its entirety online at Nom De Guerre.