NYFW: KENNETH COLE COLLECTION F/W 2014

Kenneth Cole reminds me of my mother, not because the collection is short and smells like lavender, but more because it was one of her favorite labels. She was especially fond of Kenneth Cole shoes and had multiple pair in her closet. So, as I sat waiting for this afternoon’s fall/winter 2014 presentation to start, I couldn’t help wondering what she would think.

She never was one for monochrome looks, Black on black? Too much like a funeral. White on white? She’d already had her wedding. She definitely would have liked all the pinstripes, though, and she would have very much enjoyed the deep jewel tones that came late in the collection. She would have been fascinated by the unique cut to many of the coats, but inevitably frustrated by some of the alternative fastening applied to some of the skirts or the super-cool front-lace boots. Mother didn’t do well with anything the least bit complicated when it came to her clothes.

When I think of my mother wearing one of the hats from this collection, I just have to laugh. While they look great on the models, and would undoubtedly look wonderful on most people, the thought of my mother’s grey hair poking from beneath a hat precariously atop her tiny 5′ 1″ frame is just humorous. There are numerous elements of this collection that are obviously intended for a demographic under 70.

I am most sure that Mother would have enjoyed the show itself. Opening videos are quickly becoming a regular means of introducing these shows and Kenneth Cole’s was both pointed and hilarious. Actors Alan Cummings and Rachel Dratch portray two people competing to top each other with increasingly exaggerated statuses posted to social media. Cummings inserts himself into a picture with the first family. Dratch posts one of her at peace talks. The effect is hilarious and thought provoking and an excellent way to introduce a collection designed to emphasize being whomever one wants to be.

Equally impressive are the new fabrics Cole uses in this collection. Their multi-syllabic names are largely irrelevant to buyers, but one should know that they are more durable, less likely to wrinkle, lighter in weight, and significantly stronger than traditional fabrics. The person wearing Kenneth Cole next fall/winter will look good and stay warm without having to huff and puff under all the weight, or perspiring embarrassingly in an unexpectedly warm room. Cole’s use of new, technologically-driven fabrics is ground breaking and one we can only hope other designers will follow.

Sure, all this new-fangled stuff might be a little off-putting for hard-core traditionalist, but this is a very attractive, well-designed, and intelligently styled Kenneth Cole Collection that is tremendously wearable and likely to be reasonably affordable.

Mother would approve.

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