“Lights, Action, COLOR” could have been the theme for this afternoon’s Boss spring/summer collection. Creative director Jason Wu not only put bright colors into his clothes, he put bright colors on the walls as well and then lit everything up with a brightness that almost required sunglasses to avoid eye damage. His use of primary colors throughout the collection was impressive, strong, and the kind of move that is sure to bring a lot of attention to the brand. This is good. The brand could use some attention. Despite Jason’s best efforts, at times besting the designs for his own eponymous brand, Boss has struggled along with most European luxury brands.
What I found especially interesting is that Jason plays with some older themes from the Boss catalog in creating this women’s collection. I know those who are younger might not remember, but before the 2000 season Hugo Boss was exclusively a male brand, having started making men’s suits in 1970. We see some of that history in this collection. Wu gives us a number of masculine tailored suits and blazers that could easily have been snatched right from an old Boss men’s catalog. The pleats are sharp, the tailoring classic European. Done in bright primary colors, though, and paired with equally bright tops of contrasting colors, the look works very well. So much so that I’m surprised we don’t see more of it.
Jason also is given to the lightest weight fabrics he could find. While he doesn’t quite give in to the level of sheerness we’ve seen in a number of collections this season, he does keep the fabrics breathable, making at least the outline of a woman’s body visible through the clothes. In many ways, that might be a more sensual approach, hinting at what lies beneath rather than revealing everything.
Silhouettes run from the traditional to the creative with Jason playing rather teasingly with cutouts. One green dress cuts out the entire left breast, but then modestly places an identically-colored sports bra beneath it. His use of Hockney-inspired lines in several of the early pieces provided some creativity that looks especially attractive.
The entire collection is very bright, very flattering, and very accessible. No one is going to look bad in one of these dresses or ensembles. Go ahead, try the suits and see if they don’t work wonderfully well on you. What I worry about is whether this is enough to keep the Boss women’s line solvent. With sales being in the doldrums for all European brands, corporate owners are looking for places to make cuts. Since this has never been Boss’ primary line, we have to worry that it might be on the chopping block.
If you like what you see, you might want to buy it now, before it’s gone. Just sayin’.