Koi Suwannagate had a few unexpected tricks up her sleeve. Her signature cashmeres and handcrafted appliqués were still in evidence, but she worked them in a funkier, more creative way. Ironically, this sportier new attitude came courtesy of ancient Japan. In particular, the kimono was a big influence. It's a fascination that dates back to Suwannagate's college days, when she wore a kimono on the job at a Japanese restaurant and struggled with the proper wrapping technique. "I got it wrong all the time!" she confessed.
Her own designs should be easier to wear. Asymmetric skirts, cut longer on the sides than in the front, came with elastic waistbands, and practically everything had pockets. Black cotton stretch pants that closed with a zipper in the back were the perfect foundation for the collection's sculpted and gathered knits. A three-tone cap-sleeve cashmere top in black, burgundy, and chocolate gathered into a knot at the front—a beautiful and chic way to wear a sweater. A short, strapless L.B.D. with abstract, oversize cashmere knot details on the front of the bodice was particularly lovely. Paired with an agate cardigan, it really popped.
Dresses, however, are usually not Suwannagate's strong point, and the season's one major off-note was a black, floor-length silk satin gown: The silhouette was awkward, and the acid green-accented train only exacerbated matters. Still, Suwannagate has considerable skill with knits, and a great eye. She and her stylist created one-of-a-kind, Calder-esque jewelry out of chunky coral and semiprecious stones for the show. If she's looking to expand her brand, that might be good place to start.