March 22, 2009 London
Why? Gap has deep American roots, but the brand is now designed by internationally minded U.S., European, and Japanese teams that Robinson directs out of New York, and this is the first stage of a new Gap road-show strategy demonstrating their joined-up thinking. (Next stop, for Spring 2010, will be Tokyo.) Mostly, Robinson says, they're thinking about layered sportswear with a smarter edge and exacting proportions. The classic pocket tee has been rethought in drapey washed silk; a new chino comes cut with a skinny stovepipe leg, "so it can also be rolled up and worn with a high sandal"; and the ombré-dyed twinset knits have been elongated to look right over leggings. And where denim appeared, it had obviously been more influenced by the European collaboration between Lanvin and Acne (all tailored, deep-indigo dyed pieces) than traditional western workwear. Not to say there weren't familiar Gap moments—comfortable brown-toned Navajo knits for holiday, for starters.
If there's a criticism, the collection could have used more color, along the lines of the single cornflower blue silk top that stood out in the mix. True, the rest of fashion has toned itself down to shades of gray and black, so these looks will fit right in with the season's agendas. But a tiny shot of trend-bucking American optimism wouldn't have gone amiss.