Raf Simons latest show for Calvin Klein felt a bit “been there, done that”. Why? While his clever, initial approach to update the iconic American brand was about honing into American pop culture, he has not really added a second layer to the formula. He is still reveling in Americana and when the key inspirations come from the movies “Jaws” and “The Graduate” you know you are in familiar territory, too familiar territory.
Simply put, the conceptual approach which first felt fresh is in dire need of updating. His line-up of neoprene wetsuits and prom dresses no matter how couture like their finishing were just to linear to the core of the whole idea without any surprising remix.
It was good, it drew the hip crowd and seamlessly connected the dots to CK Jeans and Underwear to authoritatively unite the huge brand but uncommon for Simons, it was formulaic.
Michael Kors knows his limits and his strengths. His latest show was one of the occasions where he aced the assignment of creating freshness and novelty on the catwalk. When he veers towards interpreting European or Japanese designer’s shapes for novelty, he generally falls flat as in last season’s Comme des Garçons cardigan shapes. But as in this show, when he goes for unabashed and exuberant clothes in maxi colors and wild floral prints inspired by his favorite beaches in Rio de Janeiro or somewhere in French Polynesia, he strikes gold. His silhouettes are easy and forgiving but it never feels like a merchandise only driven show.
Food for thought. Tory Burch zeroed in on her uptown gypsy vision with one of her best shows to date with flowing caftans and shirt dresses perfect for the yacht life which her customers actually live. They are full of money. Proenza Schouler and Rodarte have not given a good reason why they returned to Manhattan after showing in Paris for two seasons and vowing the Europeans. Jason Wu seems to loose a little bit of relevance while 3.1 Phillip Lim keeps on growing in terms of fashion without being pretentious.
Talk of the town was the bloody fall that is about to hit at Condé Nast where nobody is safe and secure in their editorial jobs as the company is trying to sell itself. And without Anna Wintour as chief nurturer of American fashion designers, what will happen?
Maybe better things? Of the few designers who ever made a commercial success out of themselves, we feel Rachel Comey is supper relevant and maybe exactly for the reason that she always managed to avoid the Vogue mentoring and spotlight. While Eckhaus Latta is being pushed forward by vogue.com and the print edition, so maybe that does not bode too well for them.
While we wrote this, we heard that our good friend Jim Nelson at GQ got the axe as well and will be replaced by Will Welch who did an outstanding issue of GQ Style where he speaks about his cancer in a moving letter from the editor. Nelson is a super smart editor who failed to reinvent the visuals of his GQ and if Anna Wintour is doling out the pink slips to editors for lack of reinvention it would surely be time someone is handing one to her. American Vogue’s approach feels more than dated now. And on to London we are.