The highlight of the day was of course, Rodarte. As usual the Mulleavy sisters’ presented a uniquely out-of-this-world collection inspired by a wide range of subjects – the most overt being Star Wars and ’70s disco. Coats were bright and metallic and dresses super sparkly, bringing to mind Ziggy Stardust costumes. Patchwork maxi-dresses combining mis-matched fabrics including shimmering metallic, wool and silk chiffon were daring to say the least. The ’70s overtones continued throughout with suede waistcoats, shearling collars, turtle-neck sweaters and crafty smocking on dresses. The final looks, a series of out-there floor-length dresses featuring huge Luke Skywalker prints were hard to miss – can’t help but wonder if any of their A-List fans will be brave enough to don these on the red carpet?
Calling out the suffragettes of the 19th and 20th centuries, Karen Walker ditched her pretty mod-meets-grunge last season style for tomboy-cool day and eveningwear. It was an exciting vision combining bold monochromatic Keith Haring-esque prints, a spare palette, boxy cuts and striking burgundy and black floor-length evening dresses. Walker rarely offers sharp, tailored black garments or evening gowns, and it was the inclusion of both that shaped the collection. Beginning with a rigid knee-length navy dress worn atop a button-down shirt and moving onto an oversize boyish pantsuit and baggy suede trousers of the same hue, ensembles were understated and tough – a transition from the dreamy, hippie wares for Spring. Black and white prints were graphic and playful on sweaters and floor-length dresses, featuring laurel wreath’s, hammers, hands and broken hearts. Breaking away from the sweetly staid Victoriana-inspired collared dresses and shirts, coats drew on classic ’60s shapes – oversize and cropped variations on a men’s double-breasted overcoat and over-the-knee vintage-feel check coat the standouts.
For the second season, Olivier Theyskens showed under the Theory label exclusively – it follows that the AW14 collection proved more mainstream than we’ve been used to seeing with his previous capsule ‘Theyskens Theory’ lines. Among the chic, tailored dresses, jackets and cropped cigarette pants perfectly suited to the professional women the label caters to, were unexpectedly poetic flourishes; graceful asymmetrical hemlines, sheer and opaque fabric combinations and sculptural deconstructed suiting. The aesthetic was incredibly neat and clean, from the almost entirely black and white palette (save for rare shots of grey, tan and navy) and limited use of print, through to the lean silhouettes and cinched waist-lines. Theyskens’ showed real flair in several outfits featuring reworked blazers with an asymmetrical wave at the hip, niftily belted at the waist to create a slender feminine silhouette. The vision may have been a little conservative, but the experimental Theyskens’ aesthetic we love him for was lurking, just beneath the surface.