According to his show notes, it was a performance by the plaid shirt-wearing Brooklyn band the National that got Juan Carlos Obando thinking about concerts and musicians' gear. So how did he end up with foiled leather cutouts encaging the bodices of his dreamy gowns and strictly tailored separates? "Kiss!" the designer exclaimed backstage during his presentation. Indie rock led to glam rock, it seems, and Obando reinterpreted the jagged edges of Kiss' signature lightning bolt into an overlay cutout that appeared appliquéd on the hips of slim wool pencil skirts or wrapping up and around the bodices of romantic silk goddess gowns.
The dresses, which were light as air in a lovely sea-foam green or clean, soft white, were beautiful unadorned, but the electric energy of the geometric designs gave a welcome jolt to cocktail hour. The appliqués were less successful on sharp, tailored suits; they read too strongly as symbols, as opposed to organic design elements, and the models looked a bit like superheroes. Better, for superchic-ness, was a black dress with one long, jeweled arm. Dense with beading, it started at the wrist and eventually, with a pencil-thin strap, wrapped around the neck. Besides being very sexy, it was indicative of the type of handwork that goes into almost all of Obando's pieces. Business, he reported backstage, is booming, and he wants to be in a position to offer his clients something they can't get anywhere else. Those Kiss-inspired cutouts, then, are probably up for discussion.