For the past two seasons, Patrik Ervell
has shown capsule collections of his new womenswear line alongside his men's clothes. Given that Ervell is something of a star in the menswear firmament, that stage may have been a little too big and brightly lit for the women's collections, which weren't quite fully formed. This season Ervell quietly presented the womenswear on its own. That was a canny choice. Not only did the clothes benefit from close appraisal, but for the first time they seemed ready to stand alone. The separation wasn't entire, inasmuch as Ervell reiterated the "real tree" camouflage prints and suiting jacquards that appeared in the Fall '13 menswear collection he showed over the weekend. But even as they repeated themes, and even a few key pieces, the women's looks seemed thought-out and finished in a way that was new. A few sculpturally feminine silhouettes hinted at Ervell's potential: There were the flared shirtdresses and full skirts in green leather and black PVC, and best of all there was Ervell's fantastic, volumetric suit trouser done in the jacquard. That trouser looked completely fresh—a little nineties, but sui generis.
Elsewhere, the collection's strength was to be found in its details. Unlike a lot of menswear designers who turn their hand to women's clothes, Ervell hasn't sacrificed his penchant for fine-tuning; to wit, Ervell is producing his women's shirts in the same 80-year-old factory in New Jersey where he makes his men's button-downs, and he's finished them with his signature stiff club collar. For another example, take this season's parka, which was made of gray wool bonded to watertight polyurethane, and seam-taped on the inside. There was no visible stitching. Womenswear doesn't usually get such fastidious treatment, but it's certainly welcome. All in all, Ervell still seems to be building up to a real vision for his women's line, but he's getting there.