It would be an exaggeration to say that this season's Co
collection was all about volume. But the use of volume here was definitely the thing that made you see the degree to which Justin Kern and Stephanie Danan have been challenging themselves. Much of it was incorporated subtly, like the backward-facing vent on a georgette V-neck top or the expanded proportion of a pair of wide-leg trousers or cuffed culottes. But there was at least one garment here that went big in every sense: a pair of balloon pants, cut in cotton poplin and in leather, that tipped into editorial territory. They weren't unrealistic, those pants—at the end of the day, Kern and Danan want women, real ones, to wear their clothes—but they pushed the envelope. More than that, they had a really distinctive look; here, the designers were attending only to their own muse. That muse encouraged more measured gestures through the rest of the collection—lots of nice refinements, like the short pouf sleeve on a jacket, set at an angle, or the gathered hem on a draped silk slipdress, or a waterfall of soft, asymmetric pleats on a cotton poplin skirt. There was also more than usual attention paid to texture here, especially in the knits. Elsewhere, the pale tweed pieces definitely scored. All in all, though, it was all about volume, the canny deployment of which gave this collection a pleasing sense of romance. The burst of flowers here and there was merely punctuation.