Ann Yee Spring 2014: Detroit (Soft) Rock City

When you think of Detroit--a city which recently declared bankruptcy after years of slow decline and decay--you probably don't think of spring, a time of renewal. Designer Ann Yee, who calls the suburbs of the Motor City her hometown, wants to change all that.
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When you think of Detroit--a city which recently declared bankruptcy after years of slow decline and decay--you probably don't think of spring, a time of renewal. Designer Ann Yee, who calls the suburbs of the Motor City her hometown, wants to change all that.
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When you think of Detroit--a city which recently declared bankruptcy after years of slow decline and decay--you probably don't think of spring, a time of renewal. But Ann Yee, who calls the suburbs of the Motor City her hometown, wants to change all that.

"We'd always go to the auto show [growing up], and the architecture in Detroit is very striking," Yee says of her decision to use Detroit as a jumping-off point for her spring 2014 collection, appropriately titled Resurgence. "The spirit of the city is still there--it's a tenacious city, and I believe there's a renaissance that will happen soon."

Detroit's rich history in automobile making is reflected in the metallic knits paired with mint greens and pale pinks. "I think pastels are making a comeback," she says of the color story, adding that she felt they were "uplifting." The sweetness of the colors was offset by the casual, tomboy silhouettes and styling (courtesy of Fashionista contributer David Yi)--cuts hung loose on the body, while sweaters were tied around the waist and worn draped across shoulders.

Yee also made good use of a perforated white leather material, which kept all-white dresses from feeling too juvenile. Anchoring all the sugary pastels were pieces in a graphic print. A closer look revealed it to be photos of Detroit, taken by Yee's brother and cousin--a great personal touch.

"The print is the heart of the collection," she tells me. "It has a really playful, hopeful vibe."

And because this is "Detroit Rock City" after all, Detroit-based band Napoleon played a live set in the small cement block-lined showspace. It was a touching ode to Yee's hometown--and an even better collection of spring-ready knits.

Photos: Courtesy