February 08, 2005
Rachel Comey's presentations have always been distinguished by striking collaborations. This season's was with English artist Shona Heath, who, along with photographer Tim Gutt, created huge projections of urban and rural landscapes to underscore Comey's concept: individuals in environments. The shadows cast by the models when they stood against these backdrops were also picked up in the clothes via touches as obvious as over-dyeing on a houndstooth blouson or as subtle as hints of ribbon and selvage peeking out from seams. The strand of whimsy running through the collection was further evident in the multilayering, in the pockets with ink spills, in a raglan-sleeved plaid shirt, and in the bombers in washed charmeuse. The latter is Comey's signature piece, the embodiment of her stated aim: "to find a way for men to be really masculine in traditionally feminine fabrics." (Backstage, she expressed the hope that her clothes would elicit vulnerability in men, strength in women.) Even when the fabric was as unfeminine as a sturdy herringbone, Comey managed to inject an appealing languor by topping a strictly tailored jacket with a knitted shawl collar. But there was nothing languid about a rough-edged navy peacoat, a garment that should appeal to the man who isn't yet ready to wear his
vulnerability on his sleeve.