I think one of my favorite things about fashion week is that there’s never just one theme dictating it. You can begin your morning at the girliest of shows — enjoy it, love it, crave every flouncy piece of chiffon and floral appliqué you see — and then end the evening at a gothic opera of leather and chains (and enjoy it, love it, crave every piece of it).
In the name of the game of mixing it up, this is one of those reviews.
Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg remained true to his prep-cool aesthetic. Though this season, he’s gotten a little darker, a little weirder, a little more creepy grandma (in a great way), with black round-framed sunglasses and thick black shoes book-ending each look. Hand drawn sketches on the presentation’s walls were mimicked on items of clothing — a shirt with a winking eye, a skirt with a belt “drawn-on,” but the rest of the collection was all about touch against a background of 2D imagery: thick knits and fur and wooly plaids were aplenty, as were soft silky fabrics offset by nude colored ankle socks and shedding, powdery taupe mohair.
The Karen Walker show is always fun. Maybe it’s the time of day. People are in a good mood, they purse their lips and nod to the music — in this case, the opening number was “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” — and they are there to see clothes that can more or less be worn immediately by anyone with a bit of funk. Karen Walker doesn’t take herself too seriously, as evidenced by the quiet departures from “traditional” tailoring (a sort of mohawking on one of the button-down shirts, boxy suits and slouchy pants that are too short and therefore just right). One can see her sense of humor too — a colored bandana printed over an Edwardian face, or a sweatshirt that boldly pronounces its wearer “Young, Willing and Eager.”
Thom Browne‘s very churchly set-up brought me back to years of Catholic education and guilt — the thick smell of frankincense permeating the show space immediately reverted me back to seventh grade; I practically hissed at Leandra, “Stop talking or we’ll get detention!”
But because it’s Thom Browne, I should have known better than to take anything too literally. He’s a rare combo of showman and show-maker and he brings his designs so close to the cusp of their inspiration that his viewers have a hard time detaching his reality from our own.
It’s a fantastic feeling to get lost in a fashion show. Very frequently can one find themselves bored at fashion week out of pure jaded New Yorker syndrome. It becomes just another day at the office, another gorgeous model in a lovely coat. But Thom Browne transports his audience, just like he did in last season’s asylum.
Some of the shapes were similar to the season before — ballooning arms and equally voluminous hips matched by sharp, corseted waists; skirts trumpeting out the moment they get too pinched in or straight down to the ankle with no deviation from the original plan. Many of the looks seemed to focus on the A-symmetric: a plaque of gold on the left shoulder but not the right, a cape on one side of the dress but not the other. Such purposeful imbalance inbetween luxe, rich fabrics and the overall pristine styling reminded all of the Thom Browne ethos: that great beauty can be found in the not-quite right, in the off-kilter, in the weird. But it has to be done, true to Browne form, exceptionally well.
Tory Burch took us on a very subdued trip (on horse back, not acid) through the ’60s this morning.
Equestrian prints were present throughout (YEAR OF THE HORSE, can I get a NEIGH-MEN?), worked into washed-silk faille and crepe de chine. In between the wooly fabrics of private school girls and the English countryside, were lamé skirts and pleated leather. The hems stayed a few inches above the knee — short but not alarmingly so and balanced by thick, nubby socks that either reached towards the thigh or sat right above shin bones.
The jacquard paisleys and tapestry-printed silks lent themselves to my earlier suspicion that a slightly flower-power lean was in motion, but Burch still found a way to make the whole affair feel Madison Ave-pristine. There were no cheesy peace signs, no beauty odes to Twiggy, just a hint of another era and a note from Tory in the booklet on our seats that read, “inspired by the armor her parents collected.”
Ah, the writing on the walls.