Designer William Morris once famously said that you should ‘Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,’ but the fashion smithy of the Second Fleet Master saw that statement and dared to ask: why not both? We’ve got the key lQQks from the perennial favourite’s palicowalk this Monster Hunter: World Fashion Week.
The Second Fleet Master has named his Fall/Winter runway for this year after the latest ragtag group of hunters to land on the new world in need of a decent clothier. The Fifth Fleet provided the Second Fleet Master not only with new bodies to dress but new materials to dress them with, so it’s no surprise that the collection as a whole shares their name.
Second Fleet Master, or SFM, as the now-iconic logo on his line of tote bags has it, departed for the new world some time ago, so his style has evolved separately but on curiously parallel lines to the smithies on the mainland. We must ask ourselves why this giant man and his apprentices pour this much effort into tailoring tactical combat gowns rather than just standard armour? Is he a failed artist? Did he want to become a haberdasher but was forced into smithing by an overbearing parent insisting he continue the family trade? But there is no other answer than the beauty this man creates. Who asked for an outfit made from giant bugs? Literally no one, and yet once you see it, you must have it.
For this season we see a lot of natural tones from the skinned monsters pulled through into the base materials the smithy favours. Bone-based off-the-rack sets lean to more exposed skin, while the couture end of the collection boasts fuller skirts suitable for both formal evening wear and smashing a bird wyvern’s head in like the weak, gooey eggs it steals. That’s not to say that the ready to wear pieces aren’t also beautiful, as the full butterfly set is striking but offers surprising protection vs. dragon for something sewn from delicate insects.
Expect to meet neutral browns, beiges and creams alongside strong earthy tones and blacks, with occasional pops of bright primaries from the skin of these newly discovered animals of unknown rarity. Electric blue and purple from creatures like the Tzitzi are a particular delight, as are the feather and fur accents on Anjanath sets, giving them a day-to-night-to-stalking-your-prey versatility, if not actual camouflage.
Elsewhere we see SFM bringing the accessorising to the fore with different corsage-like additions available for weapons of all types, able to contrast with or accent your full outfit, as well as giant headwear that one must imagine obscures your own peripheral vision, but will draw all other eyes to it. More striking, however, are the range of outfits available for clients’ Palicoes that essentially turn your felyne friend into a living accessory. Varying between fashionable and novelty items, your Palico can become an outlet for your personality as much as your own outfit: a giant ladybird or a tiny fake moustache can pop as much as a tasteful leather suit this season.
Using natural monster materials is a stroke of genius, varying the texture of outfits without forcing it: fur and bones are matte while scales are shiny yet rigid, creating oversized hip, thigh and bustle pieces and sculptural silhouettes. On the whole the shapes are more rounded than spiked this year, though SFM isn’t above using the horns of a giant Diablos as shoulder pads in a throwback touch of total impracticability. Look to the shoulders too, for an asymmetry that you can also see through the hips, which could potentially throw you off balance when rolling away from a huge monster’s claws, but looks fabulous. Who gives a fuck if you’ll die if you leave a beautiful corpse? Speaking of, a notable departure in the collection is the Odagaron suit, which is sleek where other sets are wide and has daringly split open thigh panels – evening wear when you’re on the hunt for quite a different prey, perhaps?
Overall this latest collection from the smithy of SFM shows that beauty is indeed pain but not all pain is beauty, and the most dangerous game results in the most dangerous outfits. We can’t wait to see the next season’s looks from the Second Fleet Master, or for the trickle-down effects this Fall/Winter Fifth Fleet Collection will have on the fashion world as a whole. Also it’s probably good stuff to wear for combat, but honestly who cares? The combat readiness will swiftly become of almost zero concern to you.
Git gud? Git a gud fucking outfit.