It's good to see a young designer stretching herself. Not everything in today's Kimberly Ovitz presentation worked, but the collection represented an honest and honorable effort by Ovitz to expand her vocabulary as a designer. The shock of neon yellow that greeted visitors to the Pace Gallery this afternoon was clear enough proof that Ovitz has been grappling with how to work more color into her favored palette of neutrals, and that yellow helped her extrapolate a sporty tone that was also new to her. The designer deployed a number of technical fabrics this season, among them weather-resistant poly-blends and neoprene, and she highlighted the sport reference with yellow piping and topstitching (against blacks and grays) and lots of high-contrast paneling. The garments didn't always rise above the reference—a pair of paneled leggings in gray and yellow, for instance, would look plenty chic on a run, but a little off-key on the street—but she did hit some sweet spots. For instance, a stretchy neoprene-esque coat in gray marl lined with fur, nicely fused elegance and functionality. One of Ovitz's signatures is the little body-hugging dress, and this time she turned out an excellent one in a black and yellow stitched-on print, in another of those technical fabrics. It would have been good to see more of that material here, along with more pattern and texture in general.
Ovitz was in her comfort zone with her draped knits and jersey pieces—all characteristically fine, they combined surprisingly well with the collection's punchier garments. For Fall, the designer is launching a lower-priced line, called Series, that will stock versions of the body-con dresses and jerseys that have girded her business; that should free her up to try further experimentation in her main line in seasons to come.