February 07, 2006
Like the other outsiders who are currently illuminating New York fashion week, Alexandre Plokhov has a left-field take on American style. "The tweediness of professors at MIT"that's how he described the inspiration for his latest collection, dropping the first hint that he had something a little different in mind this season. The soundtrack may have been the driving hard rock he typically favors, and his models may have walked with their usual urgency, straining to the roots of their hair as if against a gale-force wind. But in other respects, Plokhov largely turned his back on the gothic flourishes that characterized his collections in the past. This is where that tweediness came in. Even a tuxedoonce the very apogee of the designer's knack for the vampirically formalwas delivered in heathery gray wool. And the shoes, which might once have been boots for the black-clad hardcore, looked positively crepe-soled comfy.
Not that Plokhov has gone completely pipe-and-slippers on us (although a pipe would be the perfect accessory for the trenchcoat with the caped back he showed here). The silhouette still cleaved to the body, even in shearlings and fleece jackets. The tailoring on a pinstripe three-piece was as sharp as a research scientist's mind. And when winter closes in, you suspect that the hooded plaid blousons and the sleek fur-trimmed oil-cloth parka will look more at home on a downtown New York street than in Cambridge, Mass.