You’ve got to hand it to Kate Spade’s niece Whitney Pozgay: Girl knows how to take the Berry Street hipster just outside of her comfort zone. In the four seasons since the Phoenix-born, Brooklyn-based designer (who honed her chops at her aunt’s uptown bastion of style and as lead womenswear designer for Steven Alan) launched her eponymous line, she’s centered her presentations of quirky-chic separates around geographical themes ranging from ’60s California surf culture to her childhood in the Southwest.
So what then is the focus for Pozgay’s first-ever runway show? “Each collection the Whit girl goes somewhere different, and this time she goes the furthest from her natural habitat,” the designer laughs. “Outer space!” “My fiancé’s really into science fiction and I love the pre-Moon landing-era in fashion— André Courrèges and Pierre Cardin and all of that obsession with space as an unattainable place and superfantastical world,” offers Pozgay, as explanation of her starting point for Fall 2012. “One day I was at the gym and I texted [my fiance], ‘the new theme is space!’ He was like, ‘Finally!’ He’s so excited.” This meant lots of cuddle time for campy mid-century flicks like Forbidden Planet.
But before editors prepared for liftoff from sleek white banquets at Yotel (New York’s only hotel to offer Mission Control in place of a concierge desk), Pozgay looked even further back to the very first science fiction short: French director Georges Méliès’s Voyage de la Lune from 1902. What all these far out references meant for Pozgay’s starry travelers was a very mod uniform of miniskirts and minidresses (all those abbreviated hems would be the Courrèges), often worn belted or over printed silk blouses, or topped with adorable brightly colored wool car coats. Lurex added an after-dark sheen to the lineup; along with a couple of sparkly jacquard sheaths that would be perfect party wear, a burnished copper and black striped sweater worn with a pleated gold skirt was a particular standout. As with her desert bugs last season, Pozgay once again called upon her illustrator friend Jemme Aldridge to create a conversation print: a planetary motif that showed up on a trapeze dress and full-length jumpsuit. “I love the Méliès film and the image of girls sitting on planets,” says Pozgay of the inspiration. You might remember this trippy masterpiece in which an astronaut rockets into the Man in the Moon’s eye and encounters some pretty celestial ladies from its cameo in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. But statement necklaces from Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer made from enamel and hiking cord brought Pozgay’s proceedings firmly back to Earth.