BLACK LABEL by PAULA GERBASE
Words/Images Judith Ecochard
Mercedes Benz Fashion Week
EXIT ART: West 21st Street, NYC
An iconic American label/name Woolrich--- took a major right turn across the Pond, we thought the nano-second we walked into the cavernous, dark, dark space of Exit Art.
|Charcoal grey jersey drawstring dress with quilted shoulder-as in a shooting sweater|
|Charcoal grey and leather backpack|
Euro in spirit we thought---including all the waiters lined up, offering some bubbly---hospitality that comes naturally to across the Atlantic Sea exhibitors, in our experience.
And the apparel….
The models were spot-lit---it still took a bit to adjust our eyeballs to the dimness …and after we read the Run-of-Show---- after we saw the presentation, we realized we missed some fabric details ---usually pick-upped on during presentations.
|Black Rain Overcoat with Wool Detailing|
Odd, we first thought, that Woolrich, an American company that’s inhabited Pennsylvania since 1830----AND---that’s a huge lifestyle brand with a men’s/women’s a clothing label that we recently reviewed---at Outdoor Retailer SLC.
|Navy Silk Twill Safari Dress with a Navy/Wool/Cashmere Long Cardigan with Contrast Pockets|
---Would chose a somewhat unknown designer (albeit talented and a CENTRAL SAINT. MARTINS’ grad)…
--- As the designer for it’s new Black Label collection for women.
But the MO is probably niched to a European customer or fashion forward type that veers toward clean profiles and unfussy clothes ---as the flagship stores for this label are over THERE…and Woolrich John Rich & Bros. is distributed by the Italian W.P. Lavon in Corso.
|Cooler or warmer as below|
|Faded Checked on this blazer---a reference to iconic plaid. Trousers...for cool gals. Cropped-very 90's.|
So like a lot of American labels that we see at the gigantic Berlin tradeshow… Bread & Butter for example, like the denim brand Wrangler----the clothes are completely different here than they are over there…the DNA is not really really shared---- but in the name alone. Different licenses.
This version of Woolrich, we thought very Antwerp-ish/Milan-the color palette too-no warm-only cool dark tones, conservative layered garments for edgy gals----items that played on the different textures of the fabrics used (wools, cashmere knits, silks).
Very city---even the models were unapproachable. Ha ha ---not a smile.
|Buffalo Check in a laptop cover|
Masculine (a functional Black Rain Overcoat with Wool Detailing pictured above, a Navy Nylon and Silk Quilted Blazer) and feminine elements---
|Wedges---no credits but we loved|
…As in a sweet Navy Pleated Front Silk Shirt, the dresses.
According to the Run Of Show---Gerbase visited the Woolrich Woolen Mills in Pennsylvania---and stripped from the archives, the linings of the separates, detachable linings, and under garments as the inspiration of her pared down, clean design aesthetic.
|Grey Marl Wool Trench with Black Nylon Panel-Our fav|
|Gray and Navy Wool and Nylon Reversible Anorak=instant classic|
Though we missed the subtle references to the iconic Buffalo check in the very muted versions here…
We thought this modern collections very urban trend on and a good first outing for this premium label.
|Navy Fade Print Silk|
But until we read about it…we didn’t get the connection with Woolrich the USA Company’s hunting and fishing jackets/40’s sportswear…at all.
OTHER CREDITS: James Pecis for Bumble and Bumble- Hair
Make-up by Keiko Hiramoto for Shiseido