MFW: AIGNER F/W 2014

I sat down for the Aigner show expecting soft colors, attractive, form-fitting silhouettes, and probably a fair amount of leather, given that the house was started as a handbag shop. I had reviewed the past four seasons and was comfortable that what we would see this evening would be a strong selection of clothes for both business and after 5 wardrobes. What I got was … scared.

With each of the first three looks coming down the catwalk, I had to ask myself, “How would I respond if I saw a woman approaching me wearing this ensemble?” My sad, pathetic actually, response was that unless I’d had a couple of glasses of scotch in me I would most likely run and hide. On a really bad day, I might whimper.

To call these looks aggressive is almost an understatement. Leather? Yes. Sexy? Very. But there’s more to them than that. Paired with brass accessories, the sharpest of professional leather bags, and shoes with brass heels, these looks send a very clear message: “Give me what I want or I will violently kill you.”

Seriously, those first three looks need to be on a Bond villain.

Even as the looks grew a (tiny) bit softer, there is still an no-nonsense aesthetic that makes the looks incredibly attractive on the one hand, and at the same time makes one pause to check their own level of self assurance. These are not clothes for women who are playing around. These are strong looks for women who know what they want and know exactly how to get it.

Strong on leather? Absolutely. There’s not a piece in the collection that doesn’t have a touch of leather somewhere. Softer pieces are made of silk with leather belts, but even they are styled as though they were made of leather so the effect is that the leather is practically ubiquitous, even though that isn’t the reality.

Silhouettes hug the body as only leather can do. Designed to augment the hour glass shape, one will need to be in shape to wear these clothes well. Any extra weight will make these clothes uncomfortable. Even the evening gowns play very close to the body. The exception is one mermaid skirt that billows as one walks.

Looks are primarily monochrome, with black being the dominant color. Designer Ude Edling says the line was influenced by love and passion, which explains his use of red as the alternative color. I’m old enough that the monochrome red looks brought to mind an animated Jessica Rabbit, who purred, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” I’m not sure that sentiment applies to these pieces, though. There are a handful of prints that work a black to red gradient in spectacular fashion, but even those pieces maintain the fierceness of the entire collection.

Of course, one notices the bags and briefcases of varying shapes and kind. This is the label’s heritage and still a very strong part of their identity. One piece that stands out is a chained clutch that deftly attached to the broad belt with which it was paired. One also cannot miss the brass accessories from neck pieces to wrist and arm cuffs, waist chains, and as the clasps on all those belts. Those pieces go a long way in defining the ferociousness of this look.

Yes, there are a handful of looks that could be modified (leave off the gloves and the jewelry) to be office appropriate, but for the most part this is an after 5 collection. There are sheer panels all over the place that keep the sexual tension of these pieces high, drawing one’s gaze where you know it shouldn’t go.

These are the clothes of the huntress and once she catches your gaze one has no choice but to give in or die. Maybe both. Dramatic? Absolutely. And that is what is going to make them best sellers come fall.

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