Karen Walker was definitely the envy of New York fashion week today: As the
designer explained before her show this afternoon, she'd wrapped up
preparations a day early, and treated herself to ten—yes, ten—hours of sleep. That's the kind of rest pretty much every other designer dreams about, or would if they ever had the chance to go to bed.
Walker's relaxed pre-show state speaks to more than the fact that she lucked into a fashion week lie-in, however. As the collection she showed today proved, yet again, Karen Walker is a designer entirely at ease with her brand; season after season, she settles into its slightly offbeat, sweet tomboy idiom like it's an old pair of slippers. This season, bouncing way off the Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , she added grace notes of bourgeois Victoriana and Brian Jones-esque peacock mod to her signature look.
In practice, the Victoriana translated into ruffled collars and trim naval notes of natty wool bouclé and gold hardware; and a fair amount of gold fabric. Boxy coats and jackets in a gold wool-blend material with a black undertone were particularly good, as were the pieces in a brighter gold wallpaper flock. The mod end of the spectrum was capably represented by A-line dresses, paisley prints, and Chelsea boots. Fuzzy sweaters and Walker-signature boyish trousers in yellow and orangy red gave the whole thing a modern pop. It was an eclectic mix of ideas, but Walker tied them together seamlessly..