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.
With his new collection for John Galliano, Bill Gaytten was inspired by all the things he could do with jacquard. The patterns and textures made him think of the artisanal and the organic, which—in that leap of faith you must take at face value with creative types—took him deep into the jungle: Bamboo prints, wood-veneer-trimmed basket weaves, patterns of scarification, and vivid applications of iridescent plastic leaves window-dressed the theme. Silhouettes were mostly high-waisted, layered or pleated, short—a little on the schoolgirl side. Boxy, cropped jackets, half-belted high in the back, compounded that effect. When hems went floorward, there were floaty mousselines and organzas in vivid jungle greens. Everything was shown with blocky platform clogs.
Give Gaytten this much: He has the courage of his unwavering convictions. From the first look (a faux-gorilla cropped jacket made of silk organza tubes arduously applied one at a time) to the last (exactly the same piece, in lime green), he stuck to his guns. To give this peculiar exercise its most positive spin in the light of recent Galliano outings, you might conclude that Gaytten has decided a cartoon-ish, manga-ish path is the best route to the future. Down that road there maybe lies a client for these clothes.
David Koma unveiled his debut collection for Thierry Mugler (at which he was appointed artistic director at the end of last year but in which he began in the role the beginning of 2014) this June as part of the bi-seasonal run of pre-collections. It’s a fashion fit. Both brands have a pre-occupation with body-conscious silhouettes and women with a strong sense of power – an attribute Koma will always be drawn to.
For his own eponymous collection though, he let that slip a little – purposefully we might add – for something softer, supple and sleek. Body-skimming, there were still juts and angles to contend with but so too were there sheer skirts below asymmetric necklines, cut-outs, spiral-cut tops, panels of lemon gems and shorts-based tailoring. It was less harsh and austere than we have seen from him before. Later in the month we’ll see if the same can be said for Thierry Mugler’s debut mainline collection.