Hardy Blechman on the Versatility of Camouflage and the Religious Motifs in maharishi's 2016 Spring/Summer LCM Show

Both functional and innovative, maharishi caters to the urban, street-ready audience looking for modern iterations of military garbs.

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Known to combine inspirations found throughout his global cavort with the grit of London streets, Hardy Blechman never falls short in presentation when showcasing maharishi at London Collections Men. The season’s Spring/Summer 2016 repertoire was no different. The creative director took the runway by storm, and once more proved his deftness as a designer and creative visionary. Hardy’s knowledge for military apparel and the evolution of DPM runs deep. His discernment for the genre is reflected in the brand’s constant evolution of the camouflage print. Both functional and innovative, maharishi caters to the urban, street-ready audience looking for modern iterations of military garbs, while also providing a platform for Hardy to flex his offbeat concepts.

The 2016 spring/summer collection comprises of comprehensive utilitarian designs. One the one hand, subtle muted colors take on oversized kimonos and voluminous button-downs, on the other, loud bonsai prints intersperse across M65 coats and paired with varsity jackets with oriental stitch emblems. Merging motifs seen in combat, religion and military, the brand unites themes otherwise disparate. We caught up with Hardy after the maharishi show at London Collections Men to learn more about his latest offerings and his favorite design in the range.

The models that don maharishi’s runway shows are often a mix of high-end models and street-casted figures. How do each of these models help bring out maharishi’s aesthetic? What’s the casting process like?

The models we choose in a way to reflect the brand’s journey. In the early days we purely street casted, but it’s not really that simple as some models aren’t very experienced on the runway. So I started using professional models. Now I find myself somewhere between the two. The truth is, the mix between street cast and regular cast is a good reflection of maharishi’s aesthetic as we toy with some street elements along with traditional cues.

Military-inspired motifs continue to lend themselves to the streetwear landscape, how do you continually reinvent military themes without being redundant?

The Spring/Summer 2015 show is a good example of how we’ve reinvented military themes yet again. I haven’t seen too much camouflage made of white and orange, or woodland prints with riffs of purple. I’ve been making camouflage for the last 20 years and there’s still so much in my archive that I want to showcase. Yet, I’m only allowed to exhibit a certain amount a year. There’s unlimited resource out there, and you can reiterate in so many different ways just by playing with colorways, scales and techniques. Camouflage represents nature, art and design. There’s no limitations in the way it can be reinterpreted.

maharishi’s designs are crafted from a mix of various textiles, colors and prints. What’s the balance between these elements in your 2016 spring/summer collection?

Spring/Summer 2016 camouflage have been built as a variation of the house bonsai pattern. This time, the color palette was inspired by the uniform of various devotional habits. The purple and gold resemble Catholics and the orange nods at Buddhist attire.

Is there a standout piece from the collection for which you’ve developed a special affinity? Whether through design or a particular story?

I particularly like the 3XDRY Sweat Cape. The cape is designed to be a crossover of Buddhist and Catholic dress, yet its water-repellent and moisture wicking qualities give it a fresh variation. No matter how hard it rains or how much you sweat, the wearer will stay comfortable and dry.

Functionality, utility, wearability and durability are all found in maharishi designs. Do any of these elements take precedence?

I like to ensure that everything is durable and well-crafted. It would be ideal that every piece is functional, but it isn’t the only thing we consider in the game. Nonetheless the elements mentioned are all generally there and are the basics we build off of in all maharishi releases.

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