Kenneth Cole makes the very flattering assumption that his customers are just as interested in being smart as they are in looking smart; that's (presumably) why his company has never hesitated to talk politics in its fashion ads. If you're a young, hip, liberal thinker, he seems to be saying, I can take care of you.
On the fashion front, being taken care of means having the prevailing trends clearly edited and presented—something that comes naturally to Cole. For spring, the designer showed tailored safari and motorcycle jackets in white, olive and taupe cotton, worn over swingy knee-length skirts, drapey jersey tops and sweet dresses with tiny floral prints. Cole avoided the ubiquitous cargo pant trend, keeping his trousers lean and low-cut instead. As might be expected from someone who made his name as a shoe designer, leather was sprinkled throughout: There were boxy jackets, suede skirts and plenty of extras like chain-link leather belts, generous shoulder bags and nifty gold toeless pumps.
More than half the looks that came down the runway were menswear; perhaps Cole is putting a bigger emphasis on building that part of his business. Or maybe he's realized that fashion, unlike politics, is truly an equal opportunity environment.