It’s been seven years since Kenneth Cole last showed on the New York runways, and if anything can be gleaned from the celeb and industry packed front row, it’s that he was definitely missed.
Stars like Cuba Gooding Jr, Heidi Klum, and Brooke Shields showed up last night to watch Kenneth Cole’s big return, and celebrate his label’s 30th anniversary, and they were not disappointed. Cole opened with a digital display that had a strong message about fashion in the digital age–”We don’t care if you love it, we just want you to ‘Like’ it,” read one screen–and to that end his collection was made for an urban revolution.
Many of the pieces were made in tough, fall-appropriate fabrics like leather and wool rendered in deep tones of black, ink green, and oxblood. The mostly-monochromatic palette, however, really allowed the details to pop: mirrored leather harnesses added edge to sweaters, while exposed zippers cut visual interest into jackets and skirts. Less wearable but certainly statement making were coats and laptop cases with holographic screens–some read, “Shoot it, Post it, Share it,” while others featured the flying bird motif that matched the invite. And for someone who hasn’t shown since the advent of street style stars, he sure knows how to design with one in mind: We can definitely see those croc-embossed open toed lace up booties pounding some pavement come fall.
To really drive the point home, Cole flipped the script on the audience: As show-goers snapped and filmed the models streaming out during the finale, each model was armed with their own cell phones to snap and film them right back.
“He’s been really vocal about feeling that runways were not relevant for a while,” said industry vet Fern Mallis of Cole’s return to the runway. “It’s important to be back on the runway because the images and the branding are so pervasive now and go out to so many more millions of people than it did. It’s a very smart business move.”
Message definitely received: Kenneth Cole is back and more socially engaged than ever.