William J. Simmons
Namacheko’s AW21 collection emerges from the bunker, undercover, neither shell-shocked nor indifferent, on expectant and reserved bodies. I imagine that their emergence must be somewhat reluctant, since within that place of safety, a hidden and excessive netherworld, there was an underground society that forged heretofore unknown identities and projected them onto the wall in 16mm film. In darkness there can still be endless dreams of lights and colors, illuminated by the moon and dancing among punkish strands of fabric and hair. Having fled a lurid wasteland, these figures, donning clothing both sinewy and soft, lived peacefully in a melodrama, knowing full well that their uprooting would soon occur, that indeed their polychromatic dreams would collide with so-called truth and propriety. They knew that they would be caught between the desire for a perfectly color coordinated kitchen and the desire to fuck in the back room of a club lit only by neon.
But the police raid always comes to pulpify optimism like a curvy juicer. The underworld must come up above ground if it is to ignite a revolution, for as pleasurable as soil may smell and feel, it does not easily catch fire. These figures find both beauty and disappointment in the sunlight. The Met Museum has recreated CBGB and it has no swollen bodies left in it, only drones. Their respective loves, both intellectual and fleshy, are deader than cigarette ash and lost to the piquant taste of decay. Yet they march on, not only because they are beautiful, but also because they know that they can now choose whether or not to be outsiders, whether to expose themselves or to revert to a tender, shielding, orange chrysalis. They drag upwards from Hades traces of couture and elegance, like erstwhile photographers or filmmakers returning to their negatives, ready to transport us to and from a past that is so present that it may never have existed, like the memory of lips. They tell us that we do not need clothes per se, nor do we need some kind of post-apocalyptic armor. What we need is to teach each other how to see Plato’s Cave, Plato’s Fallout Shelter, Plato’s Better Homes and Gardens, from all sides both fantastical and real.