September 09, 2005
The large drawing of a cheekily naked old imp at the end of the catwalk signposted one of the inspirations for Steven Cox and Daniel Silver's latest Duckie Brown collection: the story of the Emperor's new clothes. Another influence they cited backstage was pop-up books. Together these two notions go a long way toward explaining the playfulness of both the clothes and the presentation: the polka dots, the primary colors, the goofy proportions, the deluge of bubbles at the finale. But the real source of the kidult campiness that is Duckie's unique selling point in New York lies in the third inspiration they listed: themselves. According to Cox and Silver, they started with their own personalities when they designed this collection. And what shiny, happy people they must be to give their clothes such a sheen.
The show opener, a glazed Crombie, was the prelude to, among other glittering prizes, a Lurex sweatpant, a black sequined sweatshirt, and a matching top and pant in "reversible shiny seaweed green." Tucked away in odd corners of jackets and trousers, meanwhile, were little flourishes of hand-embroidery and -beading: a Lesage zebra on a pair of trousers, a beaded turtle on a shirt, stick men on the back of jackets. The final "evening" jacket featured a clutch of big, beaded medals across its chest. Trousers were distinguished by a "cummerback," a half-cummerbund stitched to the waistband.
Fun aside, Cox and Silver never stopped their serious experiments with novel cuts. Theirs is an emperor who will never go naked.