"Riding the wave." That's how Daniel Silver described this moment in the career of Duckie Brown. A profile in the Times, webisodes on The Daily Beast, buzz surrounding Silver and partner Steven Cox's Perry Ellis debut next week…It all adds up to a big fat about-time for a duo who have toiled tirelessly in the face of indifference, incomprehension, or plain ignorance for season after season—is it really 11 years already? So how do they capitalize on this moment for their own collection? By pushing just that little bit farther out, making it just that little bit harder for neophytes to see what pleasures they've been missing out on all these years.
The new collection was, in fact, called Duckie Pleasures. There was the usual Barbra connection, this time Guilty Pleasures, her collab with Barry Gibb. The delicious sense of shame that derives from doing something really wrong matched the porn-y pic on the invite and the harnesslike "belt loops" created by master glove-maker Daniel Storto, and, in a skewed way, it also tapped into the surreal essence of the collection. On the one hand, it was the most muscular lineup the boys have offered. Indigo Japanese denim, black leather, punky red tartan, and an appetite for well-inked models were the ingredients of a particularly savory urban dish. But on the other hand, there was a peculiarly technical haute couture undertow that made some of the outfits read like Cristobal for the boys. The way that sleeves were set in tops of double-faced cotton echoed Balenciaga's experiments in volume. One jacket erupted into a flower of black denim that was as artfully crafted as an evening dress. Sober Harringtons were scissored into vulnerable backlessness. The ancient Japanese technique of fabric dyeing called shibori transformed plaid pants. Even the enormous cuffs on shorts and trousers (Duckie's 80-year-old tailor calls them passport cuffs, because they're big enough to slip travel documents into) had a precise, sissy formality that suggested something not of New York streets in the year of our Lord 2013.
In an ideal world, people are going to get to know Cox and Silver better in the coming seasons. This typically fearless collection, with its astute encapsulation of Duckie Brown's contrary, perverse, but immaculately crafted aesthetic, made a perfect place to start the meet-and-greet.