There was something deeply serious and business-minded about the heavy-rimmed glasses Rachel Comey was sporting backstage, but fortunately, they didn't presage a change in direction for the designer. (She'd simply fallen asleep in her contacts the night before.) Her fall collection wove the kind of sweet-natured yarn she typically excels at.
This time, Comey mingled country innocence and urban glam, as if Ziggy Stardust had landed in Wilmington, Ind. Her male models were tousle-headed farm boys, doing their best to dress for a night on the razzle. So inevitably, incongruity reigned: A pair of sparkling brocade trousers (Comey called them "the Ziggy pant") was paired with a sensible chunky-knit sweater, as though Mom had told her boy to dress warm before he left the house. Same thing with the gray herringbone coat tossed over a pair of black lace leggings, and the waxed-cotton blouson over cable-knit long johns.
The very particular way Comey chose to put things together for her show won't be to everyone's taste. There was universal appeal, though, in standalone items like a broad-shouldered, leather-sleeved blouson and the big striped knits, handcrafted in Peru, where she also has her shoes made.