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As the Fresh Prince ’91 anthem Summertime blasted, out of the show’s soundsystem, Shaun Samson’s portrayal of nineties Southern California looked more like a moody summer – spent renovating an old car in your best friend’s mum’s garage – than an upbeat six weeks of cliché sun sea and sand.

Oversized hip hop proportions, striped crinkle cable pullovers, and waist knotted gauzey overall knits – together with Samson’s already synonymous Bauhaus gridwork – was a grungy West coast ode to grease monkey Chicano rappers.

We wanted it all – and that was before the hotwired motherboard appliqué shirts arrived.

Catching up with the Southern California born designer, after the show, he spoke to us about East LA Low riders, and the appropriated hot rod culture which co-exists, just across the Pacific in Japan – think sushi and California Rolls.  One look at the Adidas pool slides, and the fully extended white toweling socks, and Shaun Samson confirmed his love of the trans-pacific style exchange.

Samson was particularly chuffed with his poolside slides and sunglasses collabo -with Garrett Leight California Optical, both dipped in silver chrome – which he got done in an East LA factory. The epitome of a solid accessories option…

The more the collection became about customization, hydraulics, Dekotoras –  and nuts and bolts –  the more Samson felt he wanted to sweeten the oil stained toughness of glocal car culture, with a cuter Japanese counterpoint.  From Hello Kitty through to Doraemon, it surely had to be the cuteness of a cartoon cat…

The designer was so modification-happy that he simply couldn’t resist customizing his collection’s feline mascot too. On the runway, pussycat t-shirts had hauntingly airbrushed faces pierced with rows of silver rings – whilst in the showroom, other design versions saw the collection’s heroine stamped in 4-inch studs.

It’s not just an engine that purrs, pussycats do too – and she already looks like S/S 13’s killer motif.

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Photography & Image: Pret-A-rever.com