Sunday, February 27, 2011



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.  

Paula Gerbase

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