NEW YORK, United States — “Symbology” was the ten-cent word Shane Gabier and Chris Peters attached to the Spring collection of their label Creatures of the Wind. What do things mean? One starting point was a photo Peters found of a dove flying across an eclipse — a lyrical meeting of symbols — but it was less the lyricism and more the contrasts, bordering on dissonance, which the designers had in mind. “We find conflict beautiful,” said Peters, and every element of the show amplified the discord. From the aggressive flair of the clothes and Wladimir Schall’s soundtrack, to Aaron de Mey and Anthony Turner’s makeup and hair, which exuberantly channelled the wayward essence of quintessential bad girl Cookie Mueller, an underground icon who was a recent point of reference for Mrs Prada’s Miu Miu.
Once upon a time, Gabier and Peters’ girl was a creature of the wind: a fey, gentle thing. Experience has clearly toughened her. Gabier threw out a string of references — rockabilly, punk, Bauhaus, Memphis — all with a hard edge in common. You could see it in the angular, chevron-knit, worn over black leather pants zipped at the ankle; the distressed white jeans with black Swarovski crystal stars; the khaki trench stamped with silver embroidery. The deshabillé layering of topcoat over dress, over track pants and sneakers had a grungy quality. There was even something of the floozy in the languor of drop-shouldered dresses suspended from spaghetti straps, a Western-detailed jean jacket over a little black mini, and especially in a kick-pleated pencil skirt over fishnet tights. High heels complemented by acrylic ankle bracelets completed that look.
For designers Gabier and Peters, the toughening up is part of growing up. “Dangerous beauty” was their stated aim today, because, as Peters said, “Everyone wants to be cool.” Courting such an elusive desire could also prove dangerous, but Creatures of the Wind at least came steps closer with this collection.