Victoria Bartlett got edgy this season. That was true both literally and figuratively: Her new VPL
collection was full of squared shapes and sharp angles rather atypical of the brand. It also conjured an "edgy" downtown aesthetic in surprisingly overt ways. Bartlett isn't a designer who usually feels compelled to offer her take on iconic pieces like, say, a motorcycle jacket; this season, she offered two. There was also a preponderance of leather, all faux, and a fierce red, white, and black print inspired by the work of artist Wade Guyton. There was an unmistakable hard attitude here. Ironically, that attitude found its best expression in soft, fluid looks—there was a kind of sneer to Bartlett's fantastic, billowy wide-leg trousers, especially the version executed in the Guyton-inspired print, while her broad, faux-leather tees had been given a grungy drape. Together, they elegantly communicated a careless, "don't mess with me" vibe. Bartlett's shoulders had a lot of personality, too—they traded between an impassive, broad slouch and a built-up, angled silhouette. Going from one shoulder shape to the other was a bit like watching a stalking cat suddenly stand up and hiss. Indeed, the collection as a whole gave the same impression, given that the usual energy of VPL is a sui generis mix of the abstracted and the earthy. But these clothes? Frankly, you wouldn't want to get on their bad side. The attitude worked for Bartlett. It was good to see her baring her teeth.