You've got to give Kenneth Cole credit. Since its launch, his higher-end Collection line has been a platform for a certain brand of New York City style—that tough-but-tailored, black-centric look that has long made for the uniform of mid to lower Manhattan. For this Collection outing, however, Cole and his creative director, Kobi Halperin, took the opportunity to look further afield and pay homage to another kind of New York style. Harlem Chic was the brand's term of art for the look here, which emphasized oversize, hip-hop proportions and sports-inspired mesh boxing shorts and tracksuit bottoms. The appropriation was respectful, if a bit cartoonish; that said, the same could be said of dozens, if not hundreds, of appropriations of the punk aesthetic by fashion designers. At any rate, plenty of these pieces had appeal, like the women's track pants, done in crepe or water snake or jacquard, or the basketball-orange suit shown for men. But Halperin sometimes stretched credulity when he described these clothes as a work-appropriate wardrobe, which is, after all, the Kenneth Cole Collection
stock-in-trade. Another caveat was the palette: The combination of the white, black, acid yellow, and absinthe green came off a bit strident, frankly. All in all, though, this made for an interesting and perhaps even risk-taking effort.