It may be true that these Berlin opera houses and concert halls share the same tax status as Berghain, but, in terms of genuine collaboration and shared aesthetics, there has been little crossover. UY Studio, is one of the first fashion brands to successfully bridge these two worlds, is sui generis: a label as culturally fluid as it is gender fluid.
Across the years, the pair’s music tastes have also matured. “In the beginning we were locked onto techno,” Idan remembers. He continues in metaphor: “But after years of wearing denim, one day, you just don’t feel like it anymore. Maybe you go out and buy red leather instead.” Idan is referring to their protean interest in all genres, including tribal and classical music; today, he maintains: “Sound continues to be one of the biggest inspirations for us.”
Zone 005, in particular, exemplifies the label’s club kid core as much as it represents the duo moving towards new cultural frontiers. The show’s imposing industrial location and hypnotizing, stripped-down live score by Russian experimental electronic composer Dasha Rush was an intentional nod to UY’s techno roots. “The repetitive minimalism is meditative—it’s supposed to bring you closer to either somewhere else or inside of you,” says Rush. However, her addition of processed Indian tabla drums pushed UY into unfamiliar territory. Similarly, UY’s costume design, with nude mesh reminiscent of their work for the Staatballet, and the tightly coiled choreography by The Progressive Wave (Gal Naor and Matan Zamir), incorporating elements of the Japanese avant-garde dance butoh as well as Sufi whirling dervishes, moves the presentation firmly into the realm of interdisciplinary theatre.
Within the performance, there were no traces of the brand’s signature color, black. A row of dancers capped in swooping, conical headdresses, with faces obstructed by a mane of synthetic blonde hair, appeared half human, half beast. They charged towards the Russian soloist Valentin Tzin, who convulsed on the ground, trying to grab onto their floor-length skirts. The metallic paint that covered his body had begun bleeding into his sweat, like a golden figurine liquefying under molten-hot temperatures. Here, captured in full-bodied animation and dirtied by the venue’s detritus, the pieces spoke to Berlin’s creative lexicon as much as they maintained a quintessential UY essence: the clothing became more than a representation of the sole wearer, but also of the various scenes and subcultures they may be a part of.
Even as the label moves into new frontiers, they are keeping one foot firmly planted in the community that first supported them. Or, as Idan puts it: “We could never be here without the talented community we’re surrounded by.”
Concept, Artistic Direction: Idan Gilony for UY Studio
Co-artistic direction & Choreography: The progressive wave (Gal Naor and Matan Zamir)
Sound composer: Dasha Rush
Solo Performance: Valentin Tszin
Lighting designer: Michał Andrysiak
Vocals: Emre Zaim
Visuals: Stanislav Glazov
Costumes: UY Studio
Production: Leonard Becker
Production Assistance: Dominika Wiśniewska
Curation: Eleonora Rönnmark
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