After five seasons on the New York scene, CFDA Swarovski Award-nominated Belgian designer Tim Coppens has got his sleek, streamlined menswear aesthetic down pat. He expanded on his signatures this season, showing a seventies Formula 1-inspired collection filled with savvy textile combos (panels that looked like cork, suiting fabrics, and metal mesh) and sharp lines. The use of leather gave an extra kick to relaxed pieces like a silver zip-up jacket patched across the shoulders with an antiqued camel hide. Metal-inspired fabrics, used for everything from athletic shorts to geometric details, had a space-age vibe.
Playing up his Spring influences, Coppens sent out striped knits that recalled racing flags. Models wore star-embellished driving shoes and carried bulbous helmets (not unlike the bedazzled one Coppens created for the CFDA Swarovski initiative a few months ago) as well as luxe, on-trend backpacks. Coppens' bomber jackets—a favorite staple among his fans—had sleeves that were sculpted to look like drivers' arms when they're at the wheel. The designer even included boilersuits—sometimes short, other times long. We saw this "male onesie" trend pop up on the menswear runways this summer, with varying degrees of success. And while Coppens' iterations, with their strips of gold and leather, are definitely not for your average Joe, they maintained a wearable air of masculinity.
So Coppens has got the boys' clothes on lockdown. What's the next step? Womenswear, of course. Spring '14 marked the up-and-comer's first experiment in this realm. "A few people mentioned that they wanted to see womenswear," offered Coppens backstage (full disclosure: this reviewer was one of them). "So I just thought, let's go for it and see where it ends up," he said. The result was a slick series of sporty skirts paired with structured sweatshirt-style tops, geometric little tech dresses with zip pockets, and a bomber with bold, flattering panels in leather and gold. This season, we were told, was just an experiment—Coppens is waiting to see how the retailers respond. But if his stores' menswear clients have any lady friends with similar, minimalist tastes, we think they might just bite.