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April 21 2014

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2 posts tagged "Rebekka Bay"

Can COS Creator Rebekka Bay Make the Gap Cool Again?

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Rebekka Bay

If you’re looking to add something basic to your wardrobe—a T-shirt, say, or a new pair of jeans, perhaps a light sweater for spring—chances are the Gap isn’t at the top of your list of places to look. Though it still generates billions in sales, the retailer has, over the last twenty-five years, slowly been slipping out of consumer America’s consciousness.

Bloomberg Businessweek profiles Gap’s new creative director, Rebekka Bay, in its latest issue, and while it seems the COS creator is a smart choice for reviving the brand, it isn’t clear what exactly the Gap should be. The headline “Can Rebekka Bay Fix the Gap?” makes it seem like bringing the brand back to its exuberant nineties glory is the answer. But if Bay’s task is to “Make Gap Gap again,” there better be a whole lot of people out there who want the Gap to be the Gap again, an as-yet-unproven proposition. That or this normcore thing better take off.

Bay talks about the strength of the American uniform—comfortable, functional, timeless clothes, like jeans and T-shirts—and her rules for creating a collection: “You need a very strong foundation,” she says. “You have boundaries, and you can only—and I’m kind of rigid about this—you can only work within them. First, you design the most iconic piece. Then you can maybe create a seasonal version of that. If anyone is going to go beyond that, I have to agree to it.”

What Gap does having working in its favor is scale—almost 1,700 stores in nearly fifty countries and sales of more than $6 billion, according to Businessweek. Unfortunately, for now anyway, savvy shoppers will be more excited to see a new COS store opening than a new collection landing at the Gap. Let’s see if Bay can change that.

Pretty With A Punch In Copenhagen

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Pink, mint, pumpkin, lemon, and mauve were the dominant colors at Copenhagen fashion week, but the underlying ethos was far from frivolous. Established illustrator and Denmark’s rising local design star Anne Sofie Madsen’s signature illustration on both her invite and a silk T-shirt (pictured) in her Spring 2013 collection sums up the Danish spirit. With a mixture of sweetness and bite, a girl’s face hovers over an ice cream cone. Her features are flanked by pitbulls and cobras as she is surrounded by a wash of pink with mint green and gold drips.

While Madsen is the right person to push Copenhagen’s spirit to artistic extremes, the same mixture of hard-core style with a candy-colored palette was everywhere during the week. Only Wood Wood took a decidedly darker turn from its previous British public school-inspired seasons, with a collection evoking Liverpudlian hooligans with plum tracksuits, scowls, and full blue Scouse brows. Overall, the catwalks were awash with sugary shades and earthy or edgy shapes.

The likely originator of this trend is Stine Goya, whose season after season success promoting a dessert-inspired pistachio, pumpkin, and berry palette now helps define the present moment in Danish design. Goya’s soft, pragmatic cuts counterbalance her smart and serious references. In past seasons, she channeled the Amish, haunted puppet theaters, and Victoriana. This season, she presented an elegant, relaxed white blouse paired with matching seventies-style trousers, both sporting a watercolor print of clowns from a Fellini film. Although Goya makes challenging artistic references and was introduced to Denmark’s fashion scene through her relationship with surrealist Henrik Visbov, her clothes are Copenhagen’s most realistic additions to real women’s lives.

This accessible mentality was also evident at Bruuns Bazaar, where Rebekka Bay, the former artistic director for Cos, presented clean, crisp clothes for women and men, with exciting dashes of yellow and blue against sage, mint, vanilla, and taupe. Peter Jensen’s menswear and womenswear employed brighter and bolder versions of the same ice cream colors. Even the reliably gothic Barbara í Gongini started her artful show of sculptural stiff pleats and Rick Owens-like ravished leather with a series of ghostly girls wearing only acid yellow shredded tights, dresses, and tops in thin cotton. With its harder forms and spectrum of dessert shades, Copenhagen was a treat.

Photo: Courtesy Photo