The Clothes: Like a long sigh of relief. The adrenaline-pounding scrimmage of fashion shows are exciting in their own way. But sometimes, the quiet excitement of admiring really beautiful, detailed-oriented close up close is better, like in yesterday’s presentation for Haus Alkire. Held in the backyard of a West Village townhouse, models stood simply in an ivy garden. The townhouse, Julie Haus told me, belongs to one of her original customers, which should tell you something about the faithfulness of Haus Alkire’s client base. Although silk-screened prints are their signature (Haus’s husband, Jason Alkire, takes the photographs, which are painted and then manipulated as patterns), Haus says it’s important "to really push [themselves] to tell a story that’s iconic, that someone can remember." The print story for this collection, dreamed up by the duo, centers around an imaginary vesper bat who roams around a bamboo forest island. The vesper showed up in shadows on spooky greenery, silk-screened onto linen woven with organic cotton, and black ink-drawings, that had an almost optical quality when stacked on organic cotton, with a silk organza overlay.
Silhouettes were vaguely Japanese (“I love Japanese inspiration, [so] there’s always a bit”) and athletic-inspired, with drapey dresses, drop-crotch tunic pants, pajama tops/blazers, bermuda and paperbag-waist shorts. Leather, intricately lasercut and perforated, was light and dainty, and an edging detail on collars, sleeves, and short panels. My favorite was an anorak-cum-blazer, which had a black poly-taffeta body treated for water, with ivory aerated leather bracelet-length sleeves, and a windowpane-hole back. Most of the garments were reversible or had hidden, secret details. Pull out the pocket lining of the anorak to find a hidden vesper pattern. Flip up a vest to reveal a reversible side, or sheer, organza-edged piping details along the seaming. Some may question what a cashmere sweater is doing in a Spring/Summer collection, but a cool, tissue-thin knit with a basket-weave cutout on the sleeve, didn’t look out-of-place at all.
The Hair & Makeup: Clean palette for the face, with long, backcombed hair, with origami-style top knots. Models wore 1920s-style pillbox hats of the future, with a black and white lacquered straw swirl round base, and short, face-framing plastic visor.
The Soundtrack: Acoustic chime band with a violin. Meditative.
The Vibe: Beautifully serene, relaxed, and stress-free, in the West Village townhouse of my dreams. I could have stayed here forever. And I kind of did, I stayed at this presentation for almost an hour, feeling the clothes, drinking ginger juleps and eating bacon baguette sandwiches and ginger molasses cookies. I know, tough life.
The Front Row: Kate Lanphear
Celebrity We'd Most Like to See Wearing this Collection: Kate Bosworth, Kirsten Dunst, Elizabeth Olsen, Alexa Chung What the designer said: “We created an imaginary island of sorts. We were on the back side of Hana many years ago and stuck late at night in a bamboo forest. We took a trek that was supposed to be two hours and took four-and-half. The cool thing is that at night, when the sun starts to set, you get really interesting imagery. Trees merge and make almost, these animal-like creatures. We created an icon, of this vesper bat-cat. The plumeria trees merged together to create this character. It had you imagining this sacred island where there is this vesper-god-like creature that people reside over.”
“The seasons are becoming kind of seamless. You really need to put in staples when it’s 90 degrees or when it’s 50 degrees. The really lightweight leathers…are all breathable, with lots of sheer fabrics inside. It’s not heavy. It gives you texture, even when it’s a little chilly in the spring. “