Humor is an underrated quality in fashion. Granted, no one wants his or her outfit to be accidentally funny, but a designer like Markus Lupfer can make wit and playfulness go a long way. Lupfer's strategy is easily summed up: He makes feminine clothes and then subverts generic femininity by incorporating punchy, frequently surreal embroideries, prints, or intarsia knits. The danger in that modus operandi is that the clothes may veer too far into kitsch; this season, Lupfer got the tone right. His theme for Spring was the tropics, as it was for many designers—only Lupfer had the lunatic sense to work in parrot embroideries and pastel jungle prints alongside his hothouse florals. Somebody give that man a piña colada.
In terms of silhouette, this collection juxtaposed the sporty and the soigné. The latter was amply represented in Lupfer's French lace pieces, including chic, sheer pencil skirts and cigarette pants intended to be layered over briefs or under long tops, and flared lace shorts that looked a bit tricky to wear. Sporty, meanwhile, got an airing in sweatshirt-shaped Lurex knits and a reversible baseball jacket, leopard-printed on one side and featuring a parrot embroidery on the other. Tropical-print playsuits and minidresses that could dress up or down nicely married the two moods. Overall, this collection had a bit of a magpie feeling—a bit of this, a bit of that—but it didn't feel incoherent. And the playfulness of Lupfer's embroideries and prints gave even the most simple shapes some kick.
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