December 19, 2012 New York
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, VPL gotta VPL. Even as she was describing pre-fall as a new experiment with volume, Victoria Bartlett was showing off a recent lookbook for which a model had been coaxed to contort into yoga's most om-breaking asanas. The athleticism at the core of the brand is still there. But that's not to say this collection wasn't a departure, or that it wasn't a welcome one. Drape has always been a key element in Bartlett's arsenal, but here silhouettes were positively loose. That felt fresh. So did new experiments with lamination, which led the way to crinkly "cracked and fractured" elements, in Bartlett's words. But lest it all sound too damningly comfortable—it surely is, but no tarring this line with the negatives of that brush—consider the mind-bending puzzle presented by a standout sweater, striated like a geode, that's woven on Japanese looms as a seamless tube. You don't so much wear it, as it orbits you.
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