NEW YORK, United States — To be asked by Michelle Obama to decorate the White House library for its annual holiday party is quite an honour, and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim were still reeling from the experience when they presented their Pre-Fall collection in New York City — just days after returning from Washington, D.C. Fittingly, the clothes celebrated the fact that a female face will grace the $10 bill starting in 2020. (Who that woman will be, however, won’t be announced until 2016.)
Lim and Leon showed their excitement with novelty items, like a t-shirt printed with a lipstick-and-pearls-wearing Abraham Lincoln and bags decorated with OC-branded coin hardware. The pun-heavy "Legal Tenderoni," as it is labelled, features a rendering of the company’s original Howard Street store.
Funny business aside, the duo took this opportunity to explore their take on power dressing, deconstructing the classic suit by cutting out a shoulder and losing a sleeve, a watered-down version of an idea that has been floating in the fashion ether for a few seasons now. The newness came with the giant, accordion-pleat ruffles that sprung out from the v-neck of a dress or floated across the front of a sweater in a wave. “We were proposing this idea of being able to show your flourish,” Leon said at a preview. “You can feel powerful and feminine at the same time.” An airy, iridescent shirt jacket evoked a similar sentiment.
For those fortunate enough to be able to wear denim to the office, the label’s new cut is a sensational option. Aptly called the Dip, it’s a straight-leg style with a high waist that dives into a V at the button-front closure. It utilizes the visual advantages of a high back — making “your butt look great”, as Leon said — but does away with the corset-like feeling that comes with such a steep rise. In the past couple of seasons, Leon and Lim have moved towards making clothes that are a little less flash-in-the-pan and a little more grown up. What’s more mature — or powerful — than a perfect-fitting pair of jeans?