NEW YORK, United States — Carol Lim and Humberto Leon have a clear understanding of their target audience. “Girls who are age-wise younger and older, but possess the same spirit and mentality,” Leon said before the show. “You’re youthful but you’re not necessarily trying to be young.” This season, the aspiring Chloë Sevignys of the world were treated to a modish collection inspired by the work of “visual futurist” Syd Mead, whose flying cars and hovercrafts were used in the classic science-fiction films Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron. The set was a true homage, with a Mead image serving as the backdrop and supersized balloons shaped like his space-age vehicles suspended from the ceiling. (Leon said they were sourced from a vendor in New Jersey.) It’s obvious the designers have a lot of fun crafting these sorts of installations: they still feel very inventive, and not over produced.
The clothes themselves, while not entirely an afterthought, stuck to the clubby downtown look to which OC returns time and again. This season, there was a certain sophistication to the execution. For instance, a practical utility jacket was rendered in ombré metallic, while an off-the-shoulder sweater with delightfully droopy sleeves was smartened up with a pair of nicely tailored trousers. The dip-front jean from Pre-Fall made an appearance once again, worn this time with a slim mock-neck printed with one of Mead’s scenes. While the all-over berry velour get-up will certainly turn heads, it was the upside down triangle yoke on a sharp-shouldered black cotton dress that felt like the most unique design element in the collection.
And yet, will that tiny detail be intriguing enough to make her buy? It’s a tough market. When you no longer have the novelty of being the shiny new thing, when there is a certain context around your brand but you are not yet the leader in your category, there is a terrible — and often debilitating — pressure to reinvent the same idea time and again.