Monday, February 13, 2012
NYFW Fall '12: Duro Olowu
At first blush, Duro Olowu's high-impact designs seem to be made for a very specific woman—someone high-powered who gravitates toward feminine shapes and bold, even eye-searing patterns. And indeed, for that woman, Olowu's clothes are catnip. But give his collections time to work on you and a more universal appeal reveals itself. Take the short flapper-y dress in his latest collection: Made of hand-pieced strips of printed silks, it's got a punchy eloquence that is unmistakably Olowu's. Let your eye adjust, however, and it's also a flat-out pretty party dress; some nervy starlet should try it out on the red carpet.
Olowu is well known for his mixed prints. But there's a method to his madness: His cuts are sharp, his silhouettes digestible, and the prints themselves are always combined in a disciplined way. This season, he achieved painterly results by going for more tonal print mixes, a strategy inspired by his obsession with the Egon Schiele painting Self Portrait in Peacock Waistcoat. The collection defaulted to shades of green and teal, with the palette girded by tones of brass, cream, and black, and spiked with hits of red and pink.