December 12, 2013 New York
Think small. You don't hear that advice very often, but to judge from Tina Lutz's latest collection for TSE, many a designer would do well to heed it. Lutz, ex of Lutz & Patmos, took the reins at TSE last season, and she's making her mark by focusing on the intimate aspects of the brand. Her influence can be found, for instance, in the incorporation of certified organic cashmere into the collections or the detail of a contrasted stitch on a cardigan. It's nothing that jumps out at you, but this close-up way of working seems right for TSE and especially for its Pre-Fall collection. Lutz's inspiration, this time out, was a book of photographs by Nick Knight, called Flora, for which he shot dried flowers in a very graphic way. From that, Lutz extrapolated a palette that moved from woodsy olives to blush-toned pastels and exhibited an interest in the underlying architecture of organic shapes that revealed itself in, say, the seam detailing of an otherwise fluid knit jacket. There was also a silk print and an Italian cloque that featured abstract floral patterns. Naturally, the collection's strengths were the knits; the squishy bouclé wools and skinny cashmere sweats seemed just the thing on such a stupidly frigid day as today. But there were nice touches in the woven pieces as well, notably the voluminous shorts and trousers in heavy silk crepe and a crisp collared jacket with graphic embroidery along the hem. No big propositions here, to be sure, but the small ones mattered, too.
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