Brut Force

Ohne Titel fall/winter 2007
When it comes to young designers in fashion, there is often more said than seen. Hype and pre-packaged opinion can often take the focus and the critical attention off the clothes or the theories behind them, landing instead pleasant irrelevancies; the designer's exotic background, her scattered influences, his celebrity friends. There's one young label, however, where such talk is not only unnecessary, it's almost discouraged.
Alexa Adams and Flora Gill are the designers behind the smartly structured clothes for their young label, Ohne Titel (which means "untitled" in German). "We drew inspiration from coupling the raw elegance of Art Brut with clean, refined suiting in a palette of nude tones shot through with bold color," says Adams about the duo's newest spring/summer '08 creations. Notable collections aside, Gill and Adams, seemingly more than anything else, want to make clothes that "speak for themselves."
Ohne Titel spring/summer 2008
Through a minimalist process that wouldn't be out of place at the Bauhaus, Adams and Gill design street-savvy contemporary looks that seem to arrive without a historical pedigree or confusing pop-culture allusions. Using a combination of almost tribal patterns and weaving techniques with the best bleeding-edge ripstop fabrics, Ohne Titel claims to work without an overarching or limiting aesthetic, growing their designs from the body outward. It's the same theory that gave birth to the work of Van der Roche and Eames. This is women's fashion, however, and thankfully Ohne Titel are not above raffia touches and fur embellishments—albeit in completely novel applications.
Graduates of both Parsons and Karl Lagerfeld's studio, the ladies of Ohne Titel broke onto the scene last year with a notably slick and polished collection that skipped right over newcomer preciousness and went straight to a unique and fearless aesthetic. Drawing from such academic influences as the Art Brut movement and the black, Teutonic minimalism of Adams' former employer, Helmut Lang, the duo produced a line of angled coats and nylon dresses that were anything but timid.
Ohne Titel spring/summer 2008
Presenting their spring/summer '08 collection just three weeks ago, Ohne Titel continued to build on their quickly won reputation for combining wearability with challenging design. Their African-print dresses showed a new facility for color, and the structuring and tailoring of these smart pieces were again compact and powerful. "The silhouette accentuates the waist and hips through tailored and draped volume," notes Adams. Gill and Adams also whipped up some wide-legged pants to go with their Lang-inspired women's jackets. If nothing else, Ohne Titel has accomplished one of their missions—to create looks that speak for themselves.
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Photography by Jeffrey Cohen
Ohne Titel gives minimalism a new point of view.

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