In the history of contemporary fashion, a number of menswear designers have attempted to go the womenswear route — some successfully, and some not so successfully.
The latest designers to make the leap? Daniel Silver and Steven Cox of Duckie Brown, who, following their split from Perry Ellis, have a little more time to experiment in a new arena.
It’s a natural next step for the designers: They’ve been doing menswear for 10 years, have successfully branched out into footwear with a collaboration with Florsheim, and their coolly unconventional menswear designs often play with (or completely ignore) gender boundaries. The Spring 2014 collection, for instance, featured dresses and other not-specifically-menswear silhouettes, and it sounds like the duo’s womenswear offerings won’t be a huge departure from menswear. The designers tell WWD (and the brand has confirmed to us) that they will show 10 womenswear pieces alongside menswear next month, mostly using the same colors and fabrics, and exhibiting “the same sensibility.” There will also be eveningwear.
It will be interesting to see where the designers go with it. There have been designers like Billy Reid and Band of Outsiders’ Scott Sternberg who found success by simply adapting their classically tailored menswear pieces for women. Then, there was Thom Browne, whose theatrical, high-minded womenswear designs featured skirts only slightly more voluminous than the ones he shows on men. We expect Duckie Brown womenswear to land somewhere in between, and to fit in with whatever fun story the designers decide to tell for next season.
But will it succeed? There does seem to be interest in the brand among ladies — I know female editors used to request Florsheim by Duckie Brown shoes in their sizes, eventually prompting the brand to produce styles in women’s sizes. Plus, it’s only 10 looks — small enough to pass as an experiment if buyers don’t end up latching on.