As Said By


This entry posted on September 12th, 2012

It would be tempting to look with bemusement on Karen Walker’s latest collection, what with its rocket-ship prints so redolent of The Jetsons.; How sweet, you might think; remember when people in the sixties looked at the stars and thought, We’ll live there one day! And further: Suckers. We’re more cynical now. Except… Coincidentally, Walker’s space-race collection arrives at a moment when the landing of the Mars Rover has restored a little of our collective galactic wonder. And so the optim­istic tone here felt right and relevant.

Though Walker laced the collection with Kennedy-era references-a Peter Pan collar, a short belted shift, a little angora-the clothes never felt vintage-y. She has a knack for the offbeat that kept the clothes modern. Often that was down to her proportions-oddly cropped pants, say, or a slouchy chiffon blouse with low-slung gathers.

And even more frequently, Walker updated the clothes with pattern-intarsias and prints of exaggerated dots, and white damask covered in circles. (Her pebbled jacquard, meanwhile, called to mind another Hanna-Barbera classic: The Flintstones.)

The palette, too, was modern­izing, a quirky mix of sherbet tones, tan, bleach white, and metallic rust. Long story short, this was a sugary collection, with some snap to it.


On the soundtrack at the Karen Walker show was a mix of blips and bloops and sounds of cartoon lasers shooting. On the runway was something just as tongue-in-cheekily retro-futuristic.

In oversized, billowy shapes covered in rocket­ships, intarsias, and moon diagrams and splashed in shades of salmon pink and harvest gold, the models looked more like our real-life friends than anything else. Sporting the familiar frizzy, went-way-too-long-before-a-bang-trim hair and popsicle-stained lips, they mirrored the women we know in the clothes they love to wear the most: oversized trousers, cheekily printed dresses, gathered skirts, and colorb­locked oxfords.

As for the sunglasses (always an important KW sidenote), they came in lab-goggle shapes with a full trans­parent, pink lens — an accessory any Karen Walker cosmonaut worth her salt would pick up.

Hints of Fifties suburbia added a bit of romance to Karen Walker’s charming spring outing, in which several exits featuring coral jacquard coats and skirts culminated in the most memorable look of the collection: a coral dress with swirling cream embroidery. Sure, there were plenty of the boyish looks the designer is known for, but it was a welcome treat to see her softer side on display as well.

Karen Walker has that whole outfitting cool, offbeat girls thing down to an art. Her collec­tions consist­ently build on what she does best: high-waisted trousers, quirky prints and girly frocks. This season was no different, and the intro­duction of a pastel palette and lumin­ously trans­lucent fabrics like organza and crepe de Chine offered a soft, feminine touch. There were hints of the 50s in mohair sweaters and collared dresses, but also plenty of modern touches like metallic and jersey. There were tomboy elements in the form of suiting (some colored with texture and one super fun denim suit with stars), and tailoring was usually relaxed. Accessories perfectly compli­mented the collection with loafers and pumps by Beau Coops, straw cadet caps and, of course, a few looks featured her now well-known sunglasses.