I’m not going to lie. The two reasons I initially wanted to check out the Houghton show were: Pretty Little Liars actress Lucy Hale wore the label’s very Aria-esque white crop top and skirt outfit to the Teen Choice Awards and a couple weeks later, Lily Collins hit her movie premiere in a Houghton floor-length open back lace gown. So yeah, call me susceptible to marketing (and a little celeb-obsessed).
But the New York-based label’s spring 2014 collection was decidedly more edgy and downtown-girl, as opposed to sunny Hollywood starlet, even if the color palette was full of soft shimmery ivories and pastels. (Oh and really quick—the nomenclature of the label comes from the middle name of Polk’s namesake, Katherine Hepburn. A little Hollywood trivia for you there, too.)
“You know honestly it was spring,” said designer Katherine Polk, of the inspiration behind the collection. “I was sitting by the pool in Miami and it was just honestly as basic as spring. That was it!”
It was also a stroke of weather serendipity that her spring runway show took place on a warm and sun-filled afternoon on the open-air deck of the trendy Standard Hotel. The collection was full of minimalist cuts and silhouettes, but thoughtfully intricate details--sharp knife pleats on skirting, shift shirt dresses and leather-panels, floating layers of glistening organza and beautiful gold-embroidered pastel brocade. Actually, on second thought, I can totally see Lily Collins wearing more of Polk’s designs.
The liner notes showed a quick simple math equation explaining the spring ’14 inspiration via three photos. A pool view of palm trees + the crisscross pattern of a beach chair = a basketweave of gold-embroidered brocade and pastel plaid French cotton, interpreted on a slim long skirt, pleated one-shouldered gown and the closer, a sleeveless coat dress.
We also really need to discuss the footwear, which was a handcrafted collaboration with fashion’s favorite '90s throwback: Birkenstocks. The Houghton x Birkenstocks collection updated the classic two-strap Arizona slip-in with terry-cloth accents and black and white styles incorporating the pastel and gold brocade.
“Honestly, I always do flats,” Polk happily explained. "They’re really the perfect marriage and I was so completely over the moon that Birkenstock wanted to collaborate and that they were open to it.”
So will the Houghton x Birks be put into production? “We hope,” she said. “Fingers crossed.”