Perhaps in part to Kiwi-pride, I do look forward to Karen Walker’s appearance in New York Fashion Week. Regardless of reasoning, her fall/11 collection that walked yesterday was a treat. There are a number of pieces that I really liked, and the added inspiration behind the pieces had me liking it even more.
The collection is inspired by the Northern Soul scene, titled North, and this wouldn’t have meant anything to me hadn’t I happened to have taken a paper in pop music history last semester. Thus, fascination with mapping history to the clothes ensued. Northern soul was an ossified scene, frozen in time and based on failed and rare soul, with a fast pace that spurred on all-night dance parties fueled by speed and populated by the working class until returning to their jobs come Monday.
I love Karen Walker’s description of how she captured the dynamics in this scene in the collection:
“I loved the idea of combining the three ways of dressing that went into the scene. There was this very working-class thing, with dockworkers’ coats and caps, and then the racer-back singlets that were worn for the more athletic dancing. And then there was the super-femininity of some of the women’s looks. They’d turn themselves out in their Sunday best clothes, with these full skirts that really moved on the dance floor.”
You can actually see this in the collection to (yes, I’ll admit that sometimes I have no idea what a designer is talking about), which incorporates a work-wear + sports-wear + Sunday-best mish-mash through floral shirts tucked into work pants, floaty skirts and grey t-shirts, work t-shirts and pants with beautiful royal-blue coats.
The pops of yellow I thought were very refreshing, and the long-line pleated skirts following on nicely from her last collection Perfect Day. They are also, not-coincidentally, perfect for swooshing up a storm on the dance floor.
Karen Walker consistently walks several gorgeous prints down the runway each season, and this collection was no exception. The icy-florals are rather beautiful and I can imagine this print being well worn throughout the cooler months.
Another look at the Northern Soul influence: Floaty, feminine pieces in the form of sheer blue fabric…
…contrasted against hard, working-class man-style pants and jackets.
What I didn’t pick up on was the fact that this yellow print (below) actually pays homage to the ‘patch’ culture in Northern Soul, adorned by the attendee’s of all-night parties. Karen Walker uses to motif to refer to her older iconography including the owl and the Runaway girl’s boots (thanks Issac!). Pretty cool.
Pleated skirts, the floral pussy-bow, royal blue coats, and the sweaters (preferably in blue).
On a side note, Beau Coops were, once again, behind the shoes that walked in Karen’s New York Fashion Week show. Hats are off to this winning collaboration, again.