Alexandra Owen at New York Fashion Week
Hannah Ongley reports from New York Fashion Week and gives us her verdict on Wellingtonian designer Alexandra Owen’s show.
Alexandra Owen’s SoHo presentation at New York Fashion Week on Wednesday was the perfect arena for the Wellington-based designer to display her latest collection. It’s the second time she has showed in New York, after her Fall collection was presented in the bustling Times Square district last February. But Alexandra Owen’s clothing isn’t the sort that screams for attention: The young fashion house has captivated international stockists of some seriously big-name labels with its precise tailoring and clever cuts rather than loud music and flashy runways. It has an eye for the future without being futuristic, and an international flair grounded in local, unobtrusive creativity.
For her Spring/Summer 2011 collection Alexandra Owen continues to show us what she does best, focusing on silhouettes and how her fabrics fall on the body. Her draped dresses and rippled blouses were constructed by working with the silks, cottons and coated linens while on they were still on the mannequin, her aim being to simply guide the different fabrics and let them drape naturally.
The ingenuity of this technique is immediately evident in how her pieces fall on the body and flatter while still creating innovative shapes (Though it did pose some technical difficulties - Some of the fabrics she used this season are so fine that they prevented the use of pins in the construction process).
Stand-out pieces in this collection are those which are in keeping with Owen’s aesthetic of contrasts. Ottoman silk is supported with asymmetrical boning in her knee length cocoon coat, and a gorgeous gown is given a slight off-beat edge with fabric that can be manipulated by the wearer to create a more extreme shape. Besides tailoring and silhouette, Alexandra Owen also wanted to inject some colour in to this collection. Hanging alongside her more characteristically neutral pieces were silk dresses in soft powder blue and elegant bronze, demonstrating the designer’s ability to create an element of surprise without damaging her aesthetic.
She might have an international appeal but Alexandra Owen is in no danger of losing touch with her Wellingtonian roots. Her collarless Locust jacket, my favourite piece from the collection, is extra-special to her because it is made purely from New Zealand lambs’ leather - “The highest quality leather you can get”. Local fabrics, local tenacity and global appeal. Alexandra Owen’s eye for the future is matched only by her recognition of what women in New Zealand, New York and all over the world will never stop desiring: Beautiful clothing.
Article by Hannah Ongley