"I don't want to say it's more youthful," said Devi Kroell, surveying the models at her presentation. "Maybe it has more energy." Whatever the exactly appropriate phrasing, what a difference a season makes. After Fall's uptown and slightly stiff look, Kroell's colorful and quirky Spring collection was a welcome breath of fresh air.
The experienced accessories wiz views her ready-to-wear, now in its third season, as an extension of those shoes and bags. Thus she approaches it the same way, focusing on luxe and innovative materials. The bone-hued trim on a lean Japanese cotton trench, for instance, is leather that's been dipped in neoprene. So, too, a pale and breezy caftan looks like crinkled gauze but is actually triple-layered chiffon.
Those pieces sound lovely but also expensive. Kroell may find that people don't buy clothes the way they do handbags, and that's certainly a hitch.
Speaking of accessories, most looks were paired with cone-heel platform sandals, which were chic but nothing new. Better were the bright espadrilles, including a pair in ultra-saturated turquoise worn with a purple ruffled dress. There were also terrific super-flat sneakers just barely visible under wide-leg khakis. But for the clothes, Kroell is still working out the exact raison d'être of her ready-to-wear, and as such the overall look was less than fully formed. Nevertheless, this collection is a step in the right direction.