As Said By

The Village

This entry posted on February 20th, 2010

With its funny printed pants, sailor stripes, and boat shoes, Karen Walker’s Spring collection initially read “Nantucket.” But the designer’s inspir­ation actually came from an ocean­front an ocean away. Walker has been viewing episodes of the cult sixties British television show The Prisoner, which details the life of an Edwardian seaside resort that’s in fact a jail for retired spies. Ah, now that’s a richer source than a New England island that’s a sanctuary for billion­aires. From it, Walker extracted not only her raw materials — sailor stripes, navy blazers, the Edwardian frill, and jaunty chinos — but also the idea of opposing forces (as in holiday destin­ation as place of incar­cer­ation). Hence Walker’s quiet subversion of classics: the outré gold zips on a cropped navy trench, for example, or the unexpected bright hues of the boat shoes paired with nearly every look (a new collab­or­ation with cool Brit brand Pointer). And while some of her prints — like a lovely pennant version on jersey dresses and bags — played directly to the seaside theme, she countered the nauticalia with a fab trippy sixties pattern and a China blue toile. The effect of all of the above? Signature Walker, mixed and matched with a sure hand, a bit mad yet wholly infec­tious. After last season’s polished look, this was a return to a more girlish silhouette, but there was certainly enough here to lock in the growing number of Walkerites of all ages.
STYLE.COM — Meenal Mistry

ALTHOUGH Karen Walker cited the Sixties cult TV show The Prisoner as the main inspir­ation for the spring/summer 2010 collection she unveiled at The Altman Building on Saturday, this outing felt – to this reviewer, anyway — like a paean to good old American sportswear, replete with chinos, stripey T-shirts, khaki trench coats, nautical parkas, rolled cuff denim and boat shoes (the latter of which were invented here in the US of A by Paul Sperry in 1935). But regardless of origin, Walker put her own quirky-cool spin on things. The afore­men­tioned parka, for instance, was cropped, given a frilled neckline and worn over a puffy navy parachute dress. Navy trousers, meanwhile, boast a whimsical white bird print. Dresses and sweaters are edged in layers of flirty-girl ruffles, while an olive PVC rain slicker closes with oversized gold buttons. And in Walker’s seaside idyll, deck shoes are rendered not in typical muddy brown but in vibrantly sunny yellow. Overall, this was a sporty, optimistic-feeling show that left one feeling better for having seen it.

Karen Walker seems to be in a very good mood these days with what we surmise to be good reason. Her collection of eyewear is exactly the kinds of shades we’re in the market for (and appar­ently we’re not alone, they’ve been spotted every­where this week). As a whole the Spring ‘10 collection was uplifting, and, of all things, The Prisoner (a cult British televsion series from the ‘60’s) was what Walker sited as inspir­ation. Anoraks in all variations will be on offer in Spring, as well as mini ruffled dresses and a variety of khaki and nautical striped separates. But like the unlikely setting of the show Walker quotes as inspir­ation (a prison for retired spies), there is clearly much joy derived. Case in point: although a rainy-day-ready hunter green poncho is mostly appro­priate on a stormy afternoon the bright yellow hat peeping out from under the hood seemed to say: It’s OK! Walker knows what she does well and she fully explored it in this collection. If you love stripes (lord knows we do) this is a collection to go after. We adored a slinky striped jersey dress that was surpris­ingly sexy for Walker. Models teetered in stilettos and slinked along in boat shoes; Walker finds a rather uncon­ven­tional sexiness in her use of contrasts. All in all, the mood was upbeat– joyful even– and we could certainly use a little of that at the very least in our closets!

Sailor themes are a perennial spring favorite, and Karen Walker’s take was a fun ride filled with seaworthy toppers, girlish ruffled dresses and lots of fun prints.

Karen Walker’s s/s 2010 collection of short ruffle-sleeved macs, frilled loose-fitting dresses predom­in­antly in navy, white, yellow and gold ticked all the right boxes for spring. Taking cult 1960s British television series, The Prisoner, as inspir­ation, Walker sent out navy blazers and macs with gold buttons, wide-brimmed floppy hats, navy and cream striped cotton T-shirts and chiffon dresses, paired with preppy boat shoes and desert boots (the product of a collab­or­ation with Pointer this season). The cleancut, downright adorable, and accessible, ensembles were contrasted with bright green psychadelic floral print dresses – ‘a play on opposites,’ the designer told us postshow. ‘The collection refer­ences the classic 1960s Parisian style we all know and love, but I took inspir­ation from The Prisoner, which is set in an Edwardian seaside resort,’ Walker explained. ‘My aesthetic is always effortless and contrasting – and this collection reflects that.’

Karen Walker Takes Us on a ‘60s Seaside Escape…And We Love It! Sometimes fashion gets written off for being too super­ficial, but that’s only when you overlook the whole story. This sentiment is of particular note to Karen Walker’s latest spring/summer collection, “The Village.” Walker had been re-watching the cult ‘60s TV show “The Prisoner,” and was inspired by its navy blazers, tan chinos, Edwardian frill as well as the premise of a seaside holiday resort that’s actually a prison for retired spies. Knowing this, her striped chiffon drape dress was suddenly more than just beautiful, it was a romance between the high seas and, well, jail. If that doesn’t put your mind through a loop, she also threw in plenty of playful, psyche­delic prints, which would be perfect for Julia Frakes, who was in attendence. As usual, fantastic shades were in abundance, and for something new, Walker did a shoe collab­or­ation with Pointer. Cool girl boat shoes, here we come!

Details: While the crowd sipped on Walker’s native New Zealand 42Below vodka cocktails and Chilean Morandé wines, the talk turned to Look #29 (the insanely charming hooded poncho, at left). More than one person, including Walker, said they wanted to grab it off the rack after the show to use as shelter from the never-ending rainy day on their trip from the Altman Building to the hotel’s lounge. Another hot topic of the night, the adorable Karen Walker for Pointer Alice boat shoe that everyone will be anxiously waiting to snatch up when they arrive in stores this March. A handful of Walkerites told our favorite press-office girls that this was their favorite collection yet, and I would have to agree! When I asked Walker what she had up her sleeve for fall she said she hasn’t even thought about it, but one thing is absolutely certain: If the fall collection is as cute and wearable as this season’s

We can’t believe we’re saying this, but Karen Walker really makes us want to pop our collars. For her spring collection, the New Zealand native conjured a seaside retreat from decades past: shrunken blazers, cropped chinos, stripey shirts, and psyche­delic florals. Loads of girly ruffles appeared on the bottoms of skirts, dresses, and oversize tops. And the runway show debuted Walker’s first collab­or­ation with Pointer footwear — a series of cute and clunky boat shoes and midtop sneakers. They were a clear fave for most of the crowd, though our favorite element was Walker’s custom flag bunting print. After that, we tossed up our own fashiony flag in surrender.

This collection illus­trates the beauty of storytelling in fashion. Apparently Walker was inspired by the sixties cult television series The Prisoner, in which a British secret agent is held prisoner in a seaside village. The series is fascin­ating, suspenseful, and often surreal (we’re talking ominous plastic floating balls that roll onto shore to attack people). So, too, is Karen Walker’s collection, which seems to take the aspects of the TV show and have a blast with them. My favorite pieces are puffed up to inspire, but they have more user-friendly counter­parts in the mix, too: There’s the windbreakers strategically paper-bagged with oversize tunnels and drawstrings, and then trans­lated into a swingy black dress with big outerwear-size pockets (most practical!). Classic nautical stripes also appear in multiple forms, swinging from easy just-got-off-theboat shapes to slashed and draped dresses where the stripes bend their sea legs more toward jailhouse (in the most exquisite and gorgeous way). Throw into the mix some Technicolor patterns, and all in all you have a collection that takes prisoner of its inspir­ation but easily breaks free in its inter­pret­ation NYMAG.COM

Ahoy, matey! This nautically derived collection will be the perfect antidote to the winter doldrums. I’m putty when you combine sailor stripes, ruffles, dots, and vintage prints. This is exactly what Karen Walker did with spring 2010, making it one of my favorites of the week. A very well-edited collection with lots of key pieces to choose from. The easy classics are go-to pieces that can easily enhance your existing wardrobe or to be worn on their own. NYMAG.COM

Karen Walker’s paranoia is paying off. Her Spring/Summer ’10 collection is inspired by an island full of retired spies, refer­encing the plot of 1960’s British television show, The Prisoner. The collection has a laid-back resort feeling, with most of the models sporting loafers. Yet, everything was slightly askew. The beginning of the show offered unassum­ingly feminine dresses with ruffles, tiered hemlines, and drawstring bows. But then, those basic seaside colors of white and navy were offset by psyche­delic fabrics. Swarms of seagulls, overzealous sailboat flags, and acid-trip florals popped out from behind the catwalk corners. Not trusting the calm and anticip­ating the storm, Walker had many flattering options for raingear (no small feat) from mini-trenches to parachute ponchos. Walker’s accessories, as usual, were making surf-friendly waves. Her hats reached exaggerated heights, which would have likely garnered Stephen Jones’ blessing. Her sunglasses collection continued to rock the boat, with tortoise-shell tea shades that were more Gilligan’s Island than 007. Her bags mostly consisted of totes: striped, dotted, and printed, which easily compli­mented each other and could be carried together. One model breezily brought three down the runway one-handed. Karen Walker’s entire line is wearable, for those looking to be casual and those looking to be conspicuous. Why she has a cult following is no secret. However, be warned. When wearing Karen Walker, leave any dreams of being a spy behind. It’s impossible to go unnoticed. MARIECLAIRE.COM