Seattle grunge via Tokyo suavé. Nin Truong’s Maiden Noir enters 2013 following a year of celebrations and special occasions. Now in its 8th year of operations, the Seventh Son of the Seventh Son has placed two feet firmly on the ground and returned with a calm and collected offering for the Summer months ahead.
Taking influence from the rolling dunes and goliath rock formations of Southwestern deserts such as the Chihuahuan and Mojavé in the States, the collection makes heavy use of ‘sun-bleached’ shades of tans and creams. Elsewhere, block panels, striped fabrics and rugged camouflage patterns evoke imagery of the shadows of the collection’s title. Even the appearance of an anomalous & vibrant teal blue fires up notions of refreshing springs and desolate skies, in my mind. The overall picture is one that sits comfortably in the brand’s folklore backstory of a lone enigma travelling the world – the seventh son.
Individual garments are reflective of the brand’s previous endeavours, providing vibrant but adaptable interpretations of utilitarian staples. For the rainy days, their popular nylon pullover anorak makes a return in several colours – with what seem to be a few adjustments. Elsewhere, a denim chore jacket and jungle shirt-jacket showcase Truong’s calculated approach to clothing design, ticking all the necessary boxes without implementing unnecessary, superfluous features. I especially like the Vietnam-era slanted pocket flaps and centered back seam on the jungle jacket – authentic design, with adjustments that will ensure it fits like a glove.
Other ‘cut & sew’ pieces like pocket tees and stripe-paneled shirts make use of hot, dry colours. Many of the releases display an awareness of how different colours behave independently as well as part of a pallet, and confident placements of blacks and oranges on contrasting bases grant the pieces a disparity from labels that have experimented with the aesthetic before, such as Folk and YMC. Continuing their military sensibilities into the next phase, the brand has featured Leaf Camo on a variety of accessories and a reiteration of their awesome Club Coat. Neighborhood rocked it a few seasons back with great success, and I’m glad another one of the design-strong labels is playing with it again.
Zooming out a bit, Maiden Noir’s latest offering seems to provide a macro-image of a brand seeking solidarity and maturity after a seven year phase of development and experimentation. This let’s them down in several respects – the lookbook feels so middle-of-the-road that I initially avoided writing about it, presuming a more developed and ‘concrete’ one would follow. Style techniques like colour-blocking and contrived model poses are things I would normally associate with ASOS and the like, so it’s a shame they let this one slip. Likewise, phases of experimentation are fun because of the mixture of success and flop, and while this collection feels like Truong has found his vision, I was personally enjoying the journey just as much.
That being said, subsequent viewings of the collection and lookbook have warmed me, and I’ve since become fond of the colours and styles that Maiden Noir has championed this season. Whereas photoshoots on the aforementioned fashion-supermarkets end up becoming a presentational blur of homogeny, Maiden Noir’s greater narrative of the lone traveller still shines through in the collection, and perhaps Truong is just trying to reflect the blue skies awaiting in the journey ahead – the open-shirt presentation of so many of the pieces would suggest that they’re ready for whatever the future brings.
Enough meta-conceptualism, enjoy. You can learn more about the latest season at the Maiden Noir website. UK stockists include Goodhood and Peggs & Son. Sign up to their respective mailing lists for information about incoming shipments. Peace!