Seismic shifts seem to be a trend this season, and it’s not a hemline movement. Anne Klein, in the process of changing ownership, named a new designer after Charles Nolan announced he was leaving to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean. His replacement, Michael Smaldone, debuted with a spring collection that added a bit of edge to his predecessor’s aesthetic, without veering off wildly in a new direction.
Smaldone’s theme was “urban nymph,” and he set the mood by paving his runway with wood chips (not the best surface for high heels, as the models soon discovered). Working with a limited palette—white, yellow, black, and khaki, with a few plum-toned accents—he kept silhouettes simple, with pencil skirts, tailored jackets cropped above the wrist, and full-cut white shirts tucked into slim pants or shorts.
The designer attached a high leather waistband to a few pants and skirts, used hook and eyes up the back of a skirt, and lavished silver beading in unexpected places—on a khaki tunic over cropped pants, and on an A-line skirt paired with a yellow striped shirt. While he may have chosen classic lines, clearly he likes a vivid detail.