Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear
March 12, 2014 Paris
Each season, A.W.A.K.E. designer Natalia Alaverdian picks a sort of spirit animal for her collection. This time out, she chose the peacock, a reference that manifested itself in more and less obvious ways. Most obvious: the peacock feather trim on a long gray coat. Least obvious: a white sheath dress with a kimono-inspired wrap about the shoulders, which Alaverdian said was a tribute to the albino peacock. OK, sure. Somewhere in the middle: the copious amounts of velvet here, redolent of the feel of feathers; Alaverdian's use of peacock blue; her emphasis on fishtail hems that mimicked the shape of the bird's spreading tail. But perhaps the strongest influence the peacock had on this collection was this: As opposed to previous A.W.A.K.E. outings, which put an eccentric, sculptural twist on essentially pragmatic clothes, many of the looks in this collection felt essentially ornamental. There were practical pieces, some of them very good, like a burgundy wool tank dress with an asymmetric hem, or long, faux-fur-trimmed coats that nipped in hard at the waist. But the focus on lingerie-inspired looks and floor-skimming dresses and skirts—many of them quite lovely—really shifted the tone here. The kimono-inspired looks were more matter-of-fact, with the scarf-collared outerwear a particularly strong execution of the wrapping idea. Overall, though, this collection felt like a departure for Alaverdian, but likely a temporary one—as if she'd taken an aesthetic vacation, spending some very pleasant time in a place where it was still the 1990s. Portland, maybe.