Holly Fulton is a wonderful and creative designer with an eye for prints. Her past two collections have presented mind-boggling mixtures of color and design and this season continues that tradition in most fantastic fashion. The challenge for Ms. Fulton, however, is that in attempting to grow her audience, not everyone is quite ready to go along with the change. Younger people watching the show referred often to “granny prints,” usually with some mixture of distaste. I think they’re being terribly unfair. What Ms. Fulton presented at noon today was more mature, to be sure, but in a good way.
Consider the starting pieces. Dusty blue denim on denim prints were a mixture of architectural and botanical. The first piece was a very sharp suit that could be perfect for the corporate woman. The very next piece, however, was a more playful romper in the same print with a soft print blouse beneath.
As we go through this immensely wearable collection, Ms. Fulton continues working back and forth between the playful and more work-oriented pieces. There’s a cute sweatshirt over a denim print skirt, A couple of looks later is a razor-sharp white dress with blue print trim that would be well suited in the office, right up to the board room.
As the color palette expands, the prints grow more ambitious. With red we got polka dots; lots and lots of polka dots of varying sizes and arranged in in more patterns than I could easily count. The denim gave way to silk and the silhouettes grow softer. Lavender, gold, and silver came onto the runway creating some very elegant looks, but the line never stops being practical and fun.
A surprising winner comes in the accessories, over which Ms. Fulton obsesses. The purses that match the prints were generating instant lust among those in attendance. A silver neck collar with floral treatment, however, was an amazingly effective touch that really completed ensembles well. Also very effective were Swarovski treatments around the collars and other detail areas.
A glittering digital koi print in bright shades of orange and yellow was, unfortunately, a miss for me. The pattern is so incredibly busy that even in small doses, such as a jacket or a hat, it is visually overwhelming. I may well be alone in that opinion, however, as several others seem to be able to talk about nothing else.
So, okay, maybe this isn’t a collection for juniors. If so, it is because the Holly Fulton label has grown up a bit, but she still hasn’t left the fun behind.