The joyous inner-child within. An exploration into the playful abandon of formal structure, 2021

NAÏVE, The joyous inner-child within. An exploration into the playful abandon of formal structure.

An ode to the dormant childlike innocence once so familiar to us all, 21.1 Naïve acts as Creative Director Lyna Ty’s portrayal of a life replete with boundless, unbridled imagination. A time when fictitious worlds, rich with curiosity and unfettered creativity blurred the bounds of reality; encouraging us to rekindle the carefree memories that once captivated each and every one of us.

This season it was the artistic tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the world by Karim Gaaloul - Ty’s long term partner - that would serve as the linchpin of her inspiration. Lacking formal artistic knowledge or training, it was Gaaloul’s curious innocence that gave rise to his pared down emotive style, in spite of its unwitting resemblance to artists within the Naïve Art canon such as Rousseau, Dubuffet and Wallis. Often found as spontaneous drawings on discarded paper and cardboard, Gaaloul crafts fictitious worlds wherein reality is warped with gleeful disregard. Drawings masterfully capture the surreal yet joyous essence of childhood that enamoured Ty, rid of sophistication or creative restriction.

Herbert List, Marino Marini in his studio, Italy (1952)

Seasonal fabric selections embody this sense of freedom, undisciplined use of colour, instinctive textural composition; chalkboard doodles, cartoon-like motifs and building block inspired weaves appear throughout. Splattered cottons and stained silk-like cupros allude to the painterly joyful abandon of childhood. Tie-dye jerseys sit amongst fabrics analogous to watercolour paintings. Garments with all-over digital prints feature Ty’s personal 35mm photography, a mimicry of the artistic process itself - a strawberry plant pot or a sculptor’s studio complete with clay making machinery.

The garments themselves are non-proportional, often oversized - ‘dad-like’ blazers, cropped and elongated trousers, liner jackets and utilitarian-inspired waistcoats feature skewed shapes and raw edges, serving as the seasons conceptual vehicle. Embroidered patches of Gaaloul’s drawings are finished with hand-stitched threads - aptly titled ‘Rug’, ‘Fish’, ‘Room’, ‘Small Bird’, ‘Dinosaur’ and ‘Lizard’. Newly developed brooches and badges feature in haphazard fashion. Song for the Mute’s signature seasonal chain accessory is re-imagined as a hand-dyed tape with tonal cords.

Representing different personalities within the collection, Gaaloul sculpted 15 characteristic ‘heads’, each adorned with anomalous outfits by Ty. Acting as reference points within the collection, ties to Paul Klee’s puppets can be drawn, suggesting an unadulterated artistry in lieu of refinement or expertise. This idiosyncratic harmony encapsulates the 21.1 Naïve family.