Sometimes cleverness can get you into trouble. Isaac is the king of the clever turn of phrase. He's the Roi of References. This fall collection was designed around camping and a trek into the dense forest of "Parka Avenue". His wit and charm turned out a few amusing pieces but for the most part he lost sight of the pathway out and got caught in a total white out. Too much snow and too little survival skills beyond a joke here and a ghost story there.
The opening to the show had some nice bits that were very stylish and nicely assembled. A quilted barn jacket with coordinating pieces that added up to a very handsome ensemble. I would give a girl a double take if I saw her striding down the street of dreams in said look and a few others as well. The little bustier that takes it's cue from a duffel coat with horn toggle closures running down one side would have packed a punch had he not used the very same idea so many times before starting with a bustier in tartan plaid with buckle closures. Remember that? I do. I remember other riffs on that idea. Clever design twists like a good joke are best told once. This little dress was like plowing arid earth.
Lots of Parkas with fur trim came down the wooded path many times in many ways. Some 3/4 sleeved and some sleeveless. I think when it's cold out you might as well keep warm, style be damned. I remember the early days when Isaac was the boy wonder on the Avenue. He was fabulously creative, a very SMART designer who turned sportswear on its head. Since then, he's gone through many transformations and moved in a million different directions. The spark that was so evident then has changed and doesn't have the same power or focus. There is a feeling of forcing the issue and returning to old recipes. The public expects development , a pushing of the sled forward. This collection looks more like a case of slipping backwards down an icy slope. The wind is howling outside and if you're not careful you'll freeze.
Isaac's sportswear has always resonated the most with me. Evening has been hit or miss more and more over the years. This collection had a couple of nice evening dresses and gowns like the mini shift embroidered to look like shagreen and a strapless gown with layers and layers of printed chiffon streaming off the body. For the most part the work looked matronly, wannabe Red Carpet but best suited for a Mother of the Bride .....very "Look at ME", and not in good way.
So we'll see what the future brings. He has a great new boutique in town which will afford him a perfect laboratory to experiment with survival techniques. Maybe that's just what he needs to come out of his design malaise and find his way out of the woods. In this cruel world , the forest is so dense that almost no one hears a single tree falling.
Going Back to New Haven
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