Tara Subkoff's designs haven't seen a runway since 2006, when she ended up selling her company, Imitation of Christ, and leaving shortly thereafter. The Last Days of Disco star was then diagnosed with a brain tumor requiring surgery, which she thankfully recovered from. Now, with her health and her company back, Tara has resurrected her old label as, simply, Imitation, to the extreme giddiness of her long-time fans (us). Our expectations were fairly high, and they were met.
First of all, the setting was lovely. Upon entering, I found myself in a subdued nighttime carnival. The lights were already down, as were several gauze screens upon which carnival footage was projected to a crackly soundtrack of French circus music. To be clear, the theme was no "imitation" of Wang's after party. The mood was more nostalgic and dream-like than festive.
I've never attended an Imitation of Christ show before (I was 17 when the last collection was shown), but, from what I’ve heard, the clothing was often lost in a spectacle of irritating distractions. I wasn’t the least bit irritated and found this season's setting appropriately entertaining and fitting for a nighttime show of simple, beautiful clothes.
The show began to a more updated soundtrack, which would range from Echo & The Bunnymen to Ed Sharpe to Arcade Fire. The barefoot models seemed to frolic down the astroturf runway in a collection that was almost too pretty for words. "Pretty" is a word I've found myself using a lot this week, as is "minimal," "sheer," "white," and "neutral." Tara Subkoff's return to the runway was all of these things, but I'm going to go ahead and say she did it the best. Simple lace dresses and rompers with sweetheart necklines were shown that I could see myself waking up in just as easily as I could see myself at a summer cocktail party. Many were paired with sheer robe-like jackets. There were capes in jersey cotton with lace trims and shorter capes with hoods in full black or white lace. There were long, flowy dresses, many sheer below the waist or with plunging necklines and delicate ruffles. There were even jersey trench coats and army jackets. Everything was soft and tissue-thin. The makeup was minimal and models wore there hair in simple buns with just enough flyaways.
The final women's look was a long, white jersey (wedding?) dress with a short lace veil and was followed by a group of cute boys in t-shirts who bombarded the runway smoking cigars, apparently a teaser of Imitation's mens line, which will fully launch next season. We're glad Tara is back and we think she went in a good direction. Her past collections, despite garnering the respect of art world cool kids, did not always do so well financially, but this line of super wearable (well, maybe not some of those capes), super affordable ($60-$250!), super pretty wears will (hopefully) poise the designer for run that lasts a bit longer than the last one. [Ed. note: I am SO excited.]