In one of their strongest collections to date, Ariel and Shimon Ovadia delivered a polished ode to a particular slice of rock ’n’ roll at the intersection of punk and country. And, once again, the brothers infused the collection with elements of their own story, providing a unique spin on these tried-and-true themes.
It was a delicate mélange of a message that hinged on a confluence of musical influences, upon which the brothers happily elaborated backstage. In short, the Clash’s Joe Strummer, whose face appears on a recurring graphic tee, was a big admirer of Elvis Presley, somewhat surprisingly, and suggested that the cover artwork of the band’s London Callingrecord of 1979 be designed after Elvis’s debut album. Of course, London Calling became a seminal punk album and the rallying cry for generations of bands that have adopted the punk mantle since. The Ovadia twins, in their slightly younger years, were fans of these latter-day punk bands—My Chemical Romance, Underoath, Thursday, to name a few—and would catch them live around various New York venues, one of which, Irving Plaza, played host to their show. So there you have it: London’s punk spirit, by way of the King and a New York design duo, had come full circle.
In this punk-gone-West context, the clothes ably held their own. The more potent of them included plaid-on-plaid suits, star-spangled rockabilly shirts and jackets, patchwork denim, mohair leopard-print sweaters, a hand-knitted sweater of a “rodeo man” swinging a lasso, excellent red velvet and velour pants with brass buttons, and a lively casino-scene print. Western jackets in rayon were meticulously detailed with cowboy-style embroidery and metal-tipped tuxedo lapels, in a nod to Elvis’s Vegas days, though stopping short of lounge-act louche. That the brothers scored an official collaboration with the Presley estate, combing through thousands of archival images to find the right photo to turn into a print, shows how far they have come in a few short years.