October 12, 2012 Paris
This season, Ellery found herself inspired by a trip to California and the experience of watching pickup basketball games on the Venice boardwalk. She was loose with the reference: There was some basketball orange in the palette and cool netted fabrics that yielded some of the collection's fresher looks, as well as prints and pebbled textures suggestive of gravelly asphalt courts. In general, though, Ellery put the b-ball theme to use in service of her trademark futuristic chic. She's not an aggressive futurist, but there's something about the way she incorporates sculptural elements into her rather elegant clothes that makes you think she's got a liking for sci-fi. This season, for instance, her reversible copper ponte minidress with bell-shaped sleeves looked like the kind of thing a latter-day Anna Karina might wear in a remake of Alphaville. And the collection's standout look, a dress in a pale gray marl, came off as what that same Karina manqué would wear to a party. Ellery also deployed the marl material in a dressy suit that featured a new trouser silhouette, this one fitted and slit up the side. Although they didn't take the place of the Ellery flare—which even the designer admitted she had found herself missing—the pants were sharply cut winners.
There was something missing here, though it took some thinking to figure out what. For a designer with a very intuitive grasp of the easygoing, Kym Ellery makes vanishingly few clothes that could be called casual. The range of sheer jerseys she's introduced help to build that element into the brand, but it seems a folly for Ellery not to expand into T-shirts, denim, and the like. In time, perhaps.