Despite its pops of neon pink and tangerine, the A Détacher show today was an atypically subdued affair. Designer Mona Kowalska is known for, among other things, her offbeat and often superbright prints, so the somewhat downbeat tone of her latest collection can be summed up by its most interesting print, a giant black-on-black polka dot. Elsewhere, there were fairly conservative checks and florals in shades of navy and brown. You missed the signature eccentricity.
Not that the collection didn't have its eccentric touches.Kowalska's big construction idea was a pleated sleeve that kind of drooped off either shoulder; she used the technique repeatedly, in dramatic capelike coats and jackets, printed blouses and dresses, and thick, cozy sweaters. You had to adjust to the look, which isn't unusual at an A Détacher show, but by the time Kowalska's drooped-sleeve black cardigan came down the runway, it had taken on a lot of appeal. But her other key theme—thick knit skirts and trousers with folded-over waists—never really got off the ground.
There were other ideas, too, more scantily used: Though neon has lost traction on most other runways, Kowalska made a convincing case for keeping the palette around, showing winning neon pointelle knits and blush-and-neon color-blocked silks. And her most successful silhouette was a long tunic, with a kind of armored collarbone construction, worn over narrow cropped pants in matching fabrics. She also showed a handful of very pretty, if rather safe, pieces in a nice cream and navy silk floral. The print had a little of the graphic punch that A Détacher's firm fans have come to expect, but it was quiet enough to entice a lot of new ones. Which may have been the point.