Kenneth Cole invariably screens some preshow movie that's part social commentary, part industry spoof, and which draws on both Cole's admirable commitment to charity and his ability to come up with questionable puns. This time round, the designer's guest star was comedian-actor Mario Cantone. And at the risk of ending up as a bitchy throwaway line in Cantone's next one-man show, he would have been better off toning down the acerbic wit and sticking to Cole's message about providing for the homeless.
But what was the message when it came to dressing for fall 2005? Cole has always had an ability to accurately sense which way the wind is blowing and to translate that into affordable offerings that are relatively easy on the eye. This season, that meant shrunken jackets, lean bombers, and tulip-shaped skirts. Yet there were hints that Cole might also have more-sophisticated ambitions for his womenswear. This was especially evident in the accessoriesin particular, a pale, bleached gray crocodile studded hobo bagand with the evening dresses that closed the show. An homage to Halston (not to mention Calvin Klein), they were minimal Empire-line gowns rendered in billowing wool jersey and in shades of petrol blue, cranberry, and dark brown, the collection's main color palette. Not a bad place to start if you're looking to replenish your fall wardrobe.