One of the many compelling things about Duro Olowu is that he is a designer with relatively little interest in youth. He's not against the young, of course, but his collections express the conviction that they needn't have a monopoly on drama or fun. The clothes Olowu showed today were a case in point: A belted black coat with a fox collar was a sublimely grown-up look, and indeed an understated one for the designer, but its bell-shaped sleeves provided plenty of look-at-me oomph. Ditto the soigné full-skirt suit in Kelly green—the silk-blend tweed skirt had an emphatic silhouette, not fit for shrinking violets, while the trim jacket was elaborated by a humorously oversize, mottled fox fur lapel. Sophisticated? Yes. Boring? No.
Parts of this collection found Olowu working in an atypically muted key. Alongside his signature bias-cut, patchwork pattern dresses, he showed a range of pieces that ought to have a broad appeal, such as sharply cut, wide-leg trousers in melton wool, graphic mohair sweaters, and slinky, bias-cut gowns that conjured an old-school Hollywood glamour. Elsewhere, though, his designs were unusually exuberant, nowhere more so than in operatic capes done in multicolored feathers or floral embroidered silk. The looks in metallicized dévoré velvet or silk split the difference, effectively. But overall, the message was clear—whether operating at full volume or in a quieter register, Olowu made the case that polished women are entitled to have just as much fun in their clothes as girls are.
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