January 31, 2008
Given the inclement conditions that greeted fashion week, Perry Ellis marked the occasion with an appropriately empathetic handout: an umbrella. Perfect as well for the weather that generally prevails in Scotland, the setting that John Crocco's collection suggested. Backstage, he insisted he's not into specifics and it was more Perry's elusive whimsy he was after, rather than the evocation of any particular time or place. But take the huntin', shootin', and fishin' subtext, mix it up with a mess of tartan, stir in a stag intarsia, a hint of retro and you ended up with a distinct house-party-in-the-Highlands vibe. And that particular whimsy was helped along by droll styling touches, like deerstalker hats and wellies that amplified the collection's utilitarian details: the stitched half-belt on jackets and coats, the elbow patches, the welted seams and toggle closings. The strength of the collection was in its outerwear and knitwear, particularly a shadow-plaid coat and a long, slouchy cardigan (that felt pretty Perry). The purple puffer vest thrown over a pinstripe suit had an edge of contemporary casual. But a shirt in a quilted velvet, another in an exploded paisley (with matching tie) were simply peculiar. And if knit leggings make model Chad White's thighs looks freakish, what hope is there for Average Man?