NEW YORK, United States — Having a clear creative stamp can be both a curse and a blessing for a designer. It creates a signature, that's for sure, but it can also freeze an aesthetic into something that's too tightly codified. This is one of fashion's most powerful conundrums: the urge for consistency versus the need for change.
Take Narciso Rodriguez, for instance. His aesthetic is rooted in the heyday of 1990s minimalism. Wisely, the designer has made no concessions to passing fads and trends over the years, which has put him alternatively on and off the fashion radar. With the 1990s back on the fashion agenda again, yesterday's show proved a timely effort.
Rodriguez's own brand of minimal is of a unique variety: sensual and charged with energy. He reiterated the ante with a succession of superbly cut dresses and some seriously mean trousers that drew a tall, totemic silhouette. The goings had something tribal to them and not only because of the hypnotic drum soundtrack. What materialised on the catwalk were fierce goddesses who could easily do away with any decoration apart from virtuoso cuts. Save for a bunch of abstract prints, this was an ode to solid colours and refined painterly hues.The asymmetric tunics brought spareness to a new level of sexual innuendo, while textured cottons introduced an organic, perversely monastic tingle to the proceedings.
What was missing, however, was variation: the collection felt slightly monotonous and, all things considered, devoid of a tangible storyline beyond technical virtuosity. Nonetheless, the taste for sensual restraint was engaging.