Pastels can work for Fall, especially if you know how to use them right, as Calla Haynes did for the 2013 autumn season. Yellow, pink, blue, peach: they were all there, and cheerfully ignorant of the burgundies and forest greens the Paris-based, Toronto-bred designer's contemporaries are currently favoring.
"You shouldn't be afraid of color!" said Haynes at her Milk Studios presentation on Saturday, the lights brightly shining down on her models. Haynes is big on prints. Not because they're trendy, but because she likes them. Her affinities reflect her situation: being a foreigner based in Paris allows her to breathe, to be a few paces apart from her English-speaking counterparts in New York and London, while having a different perspective than her European neighbors. It gives her an independence, a fresh outlook, which is hard to come by in an era so dictated by buyer desires and peer influence.
"The collection is about being happy," she said, discussing how one print—which consisted of blue and yellow rectangles stacked haphazardly upon each other—reminded her of a Tetris game. Its effect was a world away from the anxiety that used to result from an intense session on the Game Boy. Used in a pantsuit, the overall result was loud but not brash. Same goes for a bouncy parka done in a graphic yellow-and-gray floral. The coat had a slight A-line, letting it almost float on the model instead of hanging straight. Haynes stuck with that silhouette, except on skinny trousers and a couple of knit miniskirts. It left plenty of room in the hips of the flippy skirts and loose overcoats for her girl to prance around.
Another great addition was a rainbow tweed skirtsuit, designed in partnership with French weaving house Mahlia Kent, which Haynes has been collaborating with since her first collection a couple of seasons back. (Before that, she worked under Olivier Theyskens at Nina Ricci and Rochas.) Those textures led her to develop her own hand-woven sweaters, a welcome first this season.
In the end, Haynes did add in some black, with success. It's easy to imagine those pieces selling well—the violet print was a bit more commercial than the rest of the collection. Still, her sunny yellow styles were the strongest. After all, what's the use in being up-and-coming if you can't play by your own rules?