Cynthia Rowley threw a whimsical celebration-slash-presentation last night at the High Line Hotel. A colorful array of streamers hung from the opulent chandeliers while waiters passed out flutes of champagne. The collection fittingly displayed exactly what Rowley is known for–fun, playful, party looks.
“It always starts with something and ends with something entirely different, and what happens in between is like a bombardment of images and stories, and it can’t be just one thing,” explained the designer during the presentation. The images plastered on her program, likely plucked from her inspiration board, showed just that: waves crashing on a beach; a neon piece by artist Rob Pruitt that read, “When life gives you lemonade, add vodka”; Scandinavian floral patterns; a rainbow; Hawaiian leis; the reflective stripes of artist Josephine Meckseper’s work; and an image of Richie from The Royal Tenenbaums.
The references popped up in myriad forms: The graphic Scandinavian retro floral patterns covered pretty party dresses, while Meckseper’s stripes showed up on a sexy, yet sweet dress and skirt with thin sheer stripes that revealed a hint of what was beneath, while keeping the important parts covered up. We also saw the manifestation of Rowley’s obsession with wetsuits, which stems from her experience surfing on Montauk. But that wasn’t her only attempt at swimwear; there was also a glamorous strapless one-piece bathing suit with a gorgeous beaded design.
Overall, the collection felt like a Rowley remix, with a variety of new and old ideas mixed together. “Be true to yourself and do what people love and know you for,” Rowley advised, which is exactly what she did.