Portraits of Artists as Young Designers

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September 5, 2014

Creatures of the Wind, Tome and Peter Som open New York Fashion Week

There are clothes that make you feel good, that you’re happy to see and that you might even want to wear. And then there are clothes that make you think — that almost frustrate you because they seem to perfectly emblematize who you are, or think you are, or want to be, but that you could have never imagined on your own without first having seen them served to you. They make you wonder what fashion is really about: being clothed or getting dressed, self expression or a statement far larger than the individual.

For Creatures of the Wind, clothes might be something else altogether.

In previous seasons, designers Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters have focused intently on their technical expertise, using the help of an inherently artful eye — the time and work put into producing a uniquely perfect print, with its hand-sewn appliqués or knitted stripes from a fabric indigenous to the Congo.

In the previous two seasons, maybe the focus has been a bit less on technique and process and more on form, proving how far a little restraint can go. Up yesterday were thin cotton waist coats quietly cinched at rib level, a selection of stripes and a countering floral prints that impressively appeared fresh as opposed to ironically ground-breaking. There were new, novel silhouettes like gowns set in khaki cotton twill and there were the secret surprises that make Creatures of the Wind as special as it is: sequined straps only visible from a backside view, a plaid print detected through black and white crystals. If they came in like a lamb, they were out like a roaring lion.

Across town at Tome, another male duo pushed its own boundaries maintaining identity with a series of culottes that have become characteristic of a brand that prides itself on powerfully concealing the female silhouette in a way that shows nothing and everything in such gorgeously paradoxical synchrony. Tie belts continued to populate the waists of silk sheaths that more or less hit ankle-level next to a new series of blue and green or red and navy belts hidden between trench vests and pants.

Chiffon appliqués covered tube tops that were worn with large skirts and modeled by a notably diverse range of models. A yellow and red floral print unofficially marked itself the second freshly-minted print of spring and an interpretation on the traditional sari was approximated for adoption by a western wearer.

Peter Som came in with green floral prints, showed black and white stripes, a selection of white and blue shirting — sometimes covered by black cut-out embroidered plackets — and a small army of gold lame wearing champions, countering the one-piece swimsuits that hit behind shirt dresses. Everything screamed wearable right now. That and easy.