is getting ambitious. The British high-street brand expanded both its repertoire and its aesthetic horizons today, introducing a small range of evening looks on the one hand, and presenting some rather challenging garments on the other. The evening looks were a no-brainer: If the genius of a brand is its ability to identify an untapped niche and then perfectly fill it, then you have to credit Whistles for ingeniously seeing a need for well-priced, minimalist eveningwear. There is a customer at this level who wants to dress up simply, and Whistles’ navy calf-hair sheath and lavender beaded skirt and off-the-shoulder top will suit her to a T.
Among the day looks, meanwhile, the big story was print—specifically, blanket check that was elaborated in coats of mohair and jacquard, and as cool silk prints. Shown together, in full looks, the check took on a kind of monumentality—fine for a fashion presentation, but most Whistles customers will want to mix and match these items with other stuff lest they wind up looking like furniture. The silk looks that interrupted the check with pleats were a touch less intimidating in that regard. Elsewhere, the Whistles team were on terra firma with their plush knits—always a killer category for this brand—and their slouchy trousers with folded-over waists. In general, the Whistles vibe is just very, very convincing: There’s polish and sophistication here, but the atmosphere is chillaxed. That’s a hard tone to nail, especially on the relative cheap. Usually, calm in clothes is expensive.