NEW YORK, United States — For years, Narciso Rodriguez has shown in an anonymous studio way over on the West Side, but something about the way it was reconfigured on Tuesday night made it suddenly less anonymous. He said it was the seating, arranged so the audience’s relationship with the clothes was more intimate. But I noticed that the room was enclosed ceiling to floor in sweeping curtains which loaned a theatrical grandeur to the venue, quite the opposite of intimacy.
Apparently, that was testament to my ignorance of my surroundings. Rodriguez insisted the curtains had always been there. Maybe they were just lit differently. In any case, the very notion of theatricality is anathema to him. And yet, there was a different tone to his new collection, a bigness that suited the scale of the room (at least as my eyes perceived it!). Frederic Sanchez’s aural complement was massive percussive beats that boomed through the space. So he got the bigness too.
Rodriguez said he’d found it hard to focus on designing, as the news took a tortuous turn for the traumatic leading up and subsequent to the presidential election. But focus he had to, and that’s what the collection embodied. Almost every look had a defined core, a body-conscious column, like the jumpsuit that matched a perforated leather top to wool gauze leggings. And often this column would be wrapped or overlaid in some way. Emphasising the body in this manner was a smart means to convey a woman’s strength and control, especially when the overlay was an upscaled coat or jacket in a menswear fabric. The volume was something new for Rodriguez, a move on from the elongated sinuous silhouette that is one of his signatures.
But those signatures were still gratifyingly present. The liquid mercury silks Rodriguez loves slithered around the body here in a seductive silvery shade he called “iris”. The hammered paillettes of last season returned in shimmering shifts. It was such items which validated the designer’s desire to create “a collection for women to covet.”