February 07, 2008
The grandiose soundtrack boomed, "I am black, I am beautiful, I am king." Chandeliers that hovered over the catwalk soared ceiling-wards in a Phantom-worthy gesture. Unsurprising, given that Scott Pask, one of Broadway's best designers, was responsible for the production. Sean Combs does nothing by halvesexcept, with this collection, he did. The key item was a half-jacket, a bolero in tweed or leather or gray flannel, usually layered over fitted hip-length knits. The same truncated proportion was duplicated in some of the elaborate knitwear that also characterized the show. Frankly, it looked a bit clumsydefinitely not something you could picture Combs himself wearing. He'd more likely favor the gray flannel three-piece, with the long coat-jacket, or perhaps the purple suede topcoat. Though the palette was somber, there was plenty of surface decoration: a thick fringe of wool on the yoke of a green rollneck, a dyed fox collar on a burgundy leather jacket, a patchwork of chain mail on a black suede jacket. A little overwrought, perhaps. Still, a top of antiqued silver paillettes or a blouson in dark brocade had a tamped-down luxe that could work in a more casual context.