Ostwald Helgason made its runway debut this afternoon. In other words, today marked the day that Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason officially "got serious." No more jacquards based on man-eating plants or totes adorbs varsity jackets and baseball caps. No, this collection, this first-ever runway collection, would take as its subject art. Anselm Kiefer. Joseph Beuys. Roy Lichtenstein. Andy Warhol. These were names referenced in the show notes. Or, to put it another way: Art! Serious!
The thing is, Ostwald and Helgason are two designers who can't help but show off their sense of humor. The most memorable looks at this show—and surely the ones that will generate the most editorial—were the Warholian apples and bananas 3-D-printed to appear to be peeling off. The sheer sweatshirt versions of that were a close riff on Spring '14 Wang, but that's cool, the joke was still funny. And in the meantime, there were plenty of looks here that had a more sophisticated panache. The trim knit shirtdresses in Kiefer-esque drip patterns, for instance, or the pleated skirts in metallic abstract prints. The denim-esque looks in iridescent sculptural fabrics were very cool, as were the little wool jackets with slashed shoulders, and the outerwear in either super-reflective leather or just-fuzzy-enough faux fur. There was definitely a sense here of a brand elevating its game. The weak elements, though, which were an emphasis unfortunately, were the skirts and dresses with trailing, asymmetric hems; those just looked ungainly, for the most part. But overall, the impression was a positive one: You left this show confident that Ostwald Helgason was a brand to be taken, yes, seriously.