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nyfw: rachel comey
(images via ny mag)
as i sat down to review rachel comey’s s/s 2012 show presented at new york fashion week with cool air conditioning blowing and a frigid limonata can in my hand, looking out over the panoramic (okay, really mostly just a brick wall & dirty street below) view of the city from my window, much as i liked the ‘vintage-y seaside resort in the off-season’ aesthetic she had going, i also wondered why designers tend to romanticize the idea so frequently. after all, isn’t spending time in the city rather swell, too? and then it began.
‘suck my dick, monkey!’ screamed the voice on the street, ‘and you can shove it up your ass!’ and on it continued. reverie thus broken, i began to look at ms. comey’s work anew. the idea of urban zen has always felt a little disingenuous to me, but perhaps i’m just not responding to that in particular. going on a vacation at all times, complete with the little hats, colourful slides, slightly cat-eyed shades, yes. perhaps i could simply close my shades, turn up the old time coney island soundtrack and be pulled away to a land where….’yeeeeeeeeeeeeeahhhh!’ oh. but for that.
anyway, the clothes. using, among others, a motif described by style as “a landscape print by the French artist Rosemarie Auberson,” the designer herself noted that this season, “I’m taking them to a more subtle, textural level. And I like it.” she opted to play on a softer side of print and colour than most designers are doing this season, while at once following the rules of their importance. thus, while shades were a little more demure, they nevertheless included a pop from time to time: mint, crisp white, cerulean, heather gray, camel, indigo, beige, burnt orange, and black sat alongside colour-blocking, cable-knit prints, plaids, wallpaper florals, and the aforementioned art prints.
ny mag got a performance art group, the bumbys, to assess the show, and while they saw a painter drawing ideas from bloody, shark-infested water in the collection, perhaps the funniest remark came from (gasp!) wwd: “sound(s) like the dream wardrobe for the woman for whom composting is exciting.” i’m not sure whether that’s supposed to be a snipe (and given that i’d grown up around people who enthuse over such ideas, i’m tending to think that’s a compliment—of sorts), but they went on to describe the range in more alluring language: “Comey’s talent lies in taking such indie staples and making them stylish, even sexy — i.e., corsets peeking out from under draped silk dresses. The clothes were a melange of artsy prints and easy shapes, such as long skirts and sack dresses strung on shoe-string straps, that struck the perfect balance between geek and chic.”
fab sugar, meanwhile, took to analyzing the accessories, of which there were lots. “For accessories, Comey showed off another covetable range of flatform sandals, colour blocked loafers, and Moroccan flats topped off with straw hats,” they wrote, and between those, the retro shoes (as at top and fifth from top, both of which remind me of twenties-thirties pairs), and the designer computer bags, i feel like i was indeed getting less ‘earthy angel’ out of this show and more ‘girl who likes to vacation on gotland in october’ (or perhaps just spending the day at coney island) getting inspired by the sounds of silenced laughter and empty popcorn boxes mixing with the autumnal leaves.
thus, it was a slightly artisan take on what could be viewed as basic basics, at once fairly harmless and a shame to dismiss as such. of course, there will be those who find the range too hipster, but with the plethora of creative references and sometimes downright avant-y looks (as above, which rather reminds me of tokyo fashion), i’m not sure it would be fair to classify it as that, either. and perhaps that’s why ms. comey’s is growing to be such a cult label. my harshest criticism, though, would be in the idea that perhaps we could scout much of this from a thrift shop, or at least the general feeling (perhaps slightly altering pieces we already own), but the people who shop the house aren’t necessarily in that same class. and probably good for us then, because we all win.