You can take a Brit abroad but you can’t take the Brit out of them once there. Stuart Vevers continued with his youthful reinvention of Coach – the traditional American brand at which he was installed as executive creative director last year – with his spring/summer 2015 collection. A collaboration with Californian artist Gary Baseman to make fun little creatures was testament to that as were his choices of Americana to plunder: sub-cultures, skate and surf (ever the popular right now) combined with the spirit of New York. He said it was a celebration of “beautiful oddness” and that’s where that brilliant and irreverent Brit wit stepped in for an overhaul that won’t necessarily strike a chord with a traditional Coach customer of seasons past but will put it right in front of the noses of a new generation who won’t be able to get enough of these characterful and cool pieces: shaggy, pastel jackets; critter-knits; satchels and clogs; and long lean flare silhouettes and short sharp miniskirts.
“To be desirable,” said Roland Mouret backstage before his show – that was the point of the collection. “The meaning of desire. I want women to feel like they want to steal the clothes from the hanger straight away.”
To this end – and with an imminent New York store opening – Mouret was going back to looking at what defined him. And joy and desire was what he concluded – his sculpted silhouettes here softened in colour-blocked pastels to make this a young and fresh collection that in plenty of white, primrose yellow, pink and lilac was the embodiment of spring/summer.
Bold floral appliqués blossomed on tote bags and skirts, dresses too – at the front and as little caped backs; elsewhere came hibiscus prints laser-cut into cotton mesh for jackets and splaying A-line skirts; asymmetric hems were accompanied by injections of grass green; shorts were out in strong force and cemented that youthful sensibility. It was refreshing.
It had all started in the fittings, explained Mouret. His women chiming in with the covetable buzzword and so leading him to develop the Mouret DNA which, while still obviously underpinning the collection today, took on a lighter and relaxed new note this time round. It was refreshing.
“I’m a practical person, a Virgo, so I’m always thinking about what women will live in, trying to anticipate their feelings – people will buy because they desire,” he summed up.
Since they were baby twins looking at fashion magazines, Dean and Dan Caten have always loved a pose. The sculpted volumes of their new collection got them free-associating all over the place. When Elisabeth Erm held her position in a pair of rounded, cropped pants cut from silk raffia, her legs reminded Dean of a centaur’s.
That fabric, woven in vibrant color-blocks that were reminiscent of Sonia Delaunay’s textiles, was a key component of the Catens’ new collection. So were allover beadwork—on sweatshirts, slouchy pants, and thigh-high boots—and torrents of frothy plissé. As lighthearted as that sounds, it pointed to a new seriousness of purpose for the twins. They’ve always been great technicians, but that skill has often been obscured by their showmanship. Their presentation was as large-scaled as ever, it was set against the neutral backdrop of a New York artist’s loft, a somewhat higher-brow location than the B-movie scenarios—women’s prisons or Hollywood lunatic asylums—they’ve been drawn to in the past. There was a new emphasis on form and craft. Leather bonded to jersey was cut into light, athletic little shell tops. Even T-shirts were double-faced to give them a little more structure.
Which is not to say the Catens have turned their backs on the style that has built them an empire, its latest outpost the store that just opened on Rodeo Drive. The collection was actually shaped by a running high-low dialogue. So a floor-length skirt of scalloped plissé was shown with a cropped denim jacket, the same billowing piece was cut from the Delaunay-patterned silk raffia and paired with a cropped white tee. And a peplum-ed jacket in gold leather topped a pair of the boyfriend jeans that are a Caten classic. They love this idea—pants slouched to reveal branded briefs “borrowed from a boyfriend.”
As Nicky Zimmermann noted backstage before her Spring show, some clothes you can “read” well enough hanging on a rack. These were not those clothes. Movement was paramount to Zimmermann’s pieces this season (her fourth since she started showing in New York), and delicate shapes reigned. They came in printed silks and wisteria- and peach-colored lace, and wafted out from under pin-striped utilitarian vests. Pitting masculine against feminine is familiar territory for Zimmermann, and here she teamed her cascading gowns with cargo pockets, and sent out suiting in icy blue sharkskin (a standout).
The designer had been looking at a dreamy 1970 tarot deck by illustrator David Palladini, but was wary of doing something that felt too literally vintage-derived. And so came techier touches, like a scuba tee bearing one of Palladini’s illustrations, and asymmetrical, tiered, or pleated skirts. But overall the message felt a little unclear, the punch of any one piece diluted slightly by the host of textures, colors, fabrics, and ideas that bookended it.