It's easy to get caught up in the restless cycle of the fashion industry—spring, pre-fall, fall, resort, repeat—but Erik Hart operates at his own pace. His concept collection is showing at Paris Fashion Week, and yes, it's been labeled as Spring/Summer 2013, but the line isn't meant to be seasonal. Turning out just two collections a year (as opposed to today's standard four), Hart's studio, ATELIER/ERIK HART, takes its time to focus on simple, foundational pieces. Their less commercial schedule also affords them the opportunity to work on other creative projects—installations, objects, sounds—to accompany the label's designs.
Hart has never paid much respect to arbitrary categories. For 10 years, he's made a career of interdisciplinary work in visual art, fashion, photography, art direction, and space design (he's currently working on a new downtown LA nightclub called The Lash that will open this winter). "It's important to me as a creative individual to work in multiple disciplines and not draw strict lines between them," Hart explains. "Each medium I work in is a facet of a larger dialogue, experience, and context." Acting not only as the designer of ATELIER/ERIK HART, but also as the creative director of Atelier Projects and as one-half of the photography duo HART+LESHKINA, it's easy to understand why he might not have time for the never-ending rotation of runway shows, presentations and deliveries that most ready-to-wear designers put on.
His new collection, which will retail globally at less than two dozen independent concept stores in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, is naturally just as multifaceted. Sportswear materials like jersey and PVC mix with luxe French silk and Japanese leather in his offering of column dresses, origami slips, and sleeveless tops. "It could be viewed as an evolution and exploration in purity and tension," Hart offers. "I'm interested in capturing the space and tension which can't be clearly defined, which lays between things." That tension is present in his collection, somewhere between its simple, seemingly classic cuts and Hart's own taste for deconstruction and high-tech fabric. While he may not mean to peddle trends, Hart seems to have any eye for what looks good now—the caveat being that it will still look good four seasons later.
For more information on ATELIER/ERIK HART, visit the label's website.