As Said By

KAREN TO THE RESCUE

This entry posted on March 10th, 2007

For her second show in New York, New Zealander Karen Walker chose as her muse a thirties comic-book super­heroine, one who leads a double life. Such a whimsical starting point could have trans­lated into runway disaster, but Walker knows how to finesse a slightly off-kilter theme. Pretty capped sleeves on printed blouses and dresses subtly echoed standard-issue superhero fare. The designer likes to pair masculine with feminine, and here she cut menswear wools in Depression era silhou­ettes of the sort that once populated Katharine Hepburn’s closet. These were layered with Lycra pieces in a graphic lightning-bolt print, adding a fresh pop of humour to the serious tailoring.”

Along the way, Walker managed to weave in several disparate elements — from bright nylon anoraks to a covetable but relat­ively plain-Jane black day dress — without producing the jarring feeling on a phone-booth quick-change. A year in, this designer is already estab­lishing herself as another exciting part of the city’s growing expat contingent. ”
 — Meenal Mistry, Style.com

It’s her second season in New York and New Zealand designer Karen Walker shows no sign of slowing down. Hers is a kooky, confident customer who wants a wardrobe full of inter­esting, unique clothes — but who could just as well murder a well tailored little black dress. For autumn / winter 2007 – 8, they’ll grab a red beret as they leave the house and cram it on oh-so-casually over a shapely tweed jacket and high-waisted black trousers. Karen showed off about her new partnership with designer poet Henry Holland when the mood took her, but that didn’t threaten her serious talent for cutting — shown off most profitably by stunningly sculpted wool jackets that were elegantly shapely at the shoulder. Her light, easy-going, fashion fun touch reappeared again with touches of Lurex in a T-shirt or a belt around the neck, a pop art-style heart surrounded by light­ening bolts on one model’s chest and bright blue anoraks belted by leather straps. Thirties shapes combined with modern fabrics and Walker’s signature lack of pretension gave a good, self-assured impression — this lady knows just where she’s going.”
 — Dolly Jones, Vogue.com

Karen Walker, a New Zealand designer who began showing here last season, seemed of a mind to mix refer­ences to film heroines ( sharp-shouldered jackets romantic ruffles ) with quirky takes on sportswear. That meant playful boleros and dresses done in brightly coloured poncho nylon and adorable tams and caps tied with bonnet sashes. ”
 — Cathy Horyn, New York Times, U.S.A.

Walker, who hails from New Zealand and crossed over from London fashion week last season, titled her collection Karen to the Rescue . And what a super collection it is. Shirts with jutting cape sleeves, nylon anoraks ( both full– and bolero-sized ) and cropped silk jackets were worn over fitted Lycra catsuits and wide-cut trousers. The models looked like razor-sharp under­cover spies, revolu­tion­aries or even super­heroes, dressed incognito in civilian attire. How apt then that of the true super models Shalom Harlow, was sitting from row center ”
 — Colin, Bertram, The Daily News, U.S.A.

Things were more hopeful at Karen Walker, a New Zealander admired for her off-beat approach to tailoring, kooky patterns and a colour palette that reflects her native land. Yesterday’s collection was an inter­esting mix of one part Forties resistance fighter, some graphic Sixties shifts and the rest a Seventies retro vibe. High-waisted trousers were paired with neat blouses and spriggy prints while sombre black, fitted crepe dresses with puffed shoulders were grafittied with cartoonish Pop Art slogans.”
 — Carolyn Asome, The Times, U.K.

It was Karen to the Rescue … there was a girl-superhero appeal to it. Mixing tweeds, menswear, and knits with anoraks and high heels was a nice combin­ation of menswear sporty and girlie. Hopefully it will inspire our girls. ”
 — Amy Astley, Editor, Teen Vogue, U.S.A.

Karen Walker’s second collection in NY is her best yet, all ballsy Hollywood heroines and 40s Lauren Bacall charm. It may look breezy and effortless but make no mistake, this collection is also assured and very very lovely. ”
 — Cath Clarke, Editor, Another Magazine

Karen Walker has mastered the art of marrying contem­porary cool with wearab­ility. She makes it feel effortless and highly desirable. I loved the bright nylon jackets and of course the Henry Holland seal of approval made for a very enjoyable show and a wish list for girls the world over. ”
 — Fran Burns, Fashion Editor, i-D Magazine

Five collec­tions that kept us warm during New York fashion week:
Last season’s runaway darling picks up right where she left off. The same reds, blues and warm tweeds from her recent Land Girl collection were welcomed back as memories of warmer times. Walker’s country lady seems to have come to the city where her tight, scallop-shouldered jackets and roomy field coats could survive any office — femin­inity intact. The theme centered on a dual life of a super-heroine and, while Lycra was present here and there, costume was a distant concept. Allusions to capes flowed from sharp, red jacket, wings hid in lapels and shoulders, while black leggings grounded basic colours. Still, the simple things — mature textured pants, butterfly textiles — saved the day.”
 — Gabriel Bell, Refinery29.com

A Nylon favourite, New Zealand’s Karen Walker never fails to knock the socks off the Nylon fashion department. We love her and her rockin’ blue sunglasses so so much! Karen intro­duced eyewear last season and we are living for it! In addition Aya can’t wait to layer a beret over a scarf … GENIUS!”
 — Nylon.com, U.S.A.