I seem to recall a scene in the classroom in the movie classic "A Christmas Story". "Alright class, we're going to write, A THEME"! Oh the horror! I think some of the most liberating writing I've ever done was in my 8th grade English class journal and through my 10th grade English class teacher Mrs. Glusman telling us to write openly what we felt about her (but to keep it to ourselves). Boy was that a lesson in letting go! I think I must've had to change pens...twice! Nevertheless, liberated or by theme, the point was to expressively get your thoughts across either through outlining the stated subject or as the ideas just came to you as you wrote.
I occasionally think along those lines sometimes, especially at a fashion presentation. Either you are introduced to a theme or inspiration and the collection follows suit or your thoughts run wild as you pass through. You know of the designer, so you go in with a preconceived idea, but you never know where their vision has taken them for the season. So you can either wind up taking in something more expectational or exhibit something that throws you for a loop from piece to piece.
For two presentations I saw during fashion week I immediately went in thinking "oh OK, Hyden Yoo is menswear with a stylish functional meets Americana kick". Then I thought "Araks is going to be simplicity with a bubbling of sophisticated comfort". And while neither disappointed, for some reason I immediately applied my own very direct themes to both. Hyden Yoo was "50's remix" and Araks was "The Sensual Librarian".
The Fall 2011 collection from Hyden Yoo took inspiration from the 50's Rockabilly, Teddy boys and girls movement in Britain. This collection, which featured both women's and men's clothing, was staged in a room set up lodge-style complete with leather club chairs, mini poker table, library shelves, pool table and bar. Colors contrasts were of pink with purple, ink with dark grey and rusts with olive. Men donned looks of slim cuffed trousers, loose club shirts with winged collar variations and chunky cardigans with suede elbow patches, with a strong almost defiant tailoring emphasis. There was a touch of femininity to the women's androgyny as they donned dressed cinched by ribbing, cape and poncho variations and color-blocked wool and mohair sweaters. Shirtings were given a slight taste of the modern with updated panelling and seaming. The collection was also marked by a definitive vintage approach mixed with modern dressing by way of layering newer textures and conventional items under the more traditional and by the cutting of pieces that have retro familiarity closer to the body.
What I saw as the 'sensual librarian' at Araks was characterized by women who looked almost scholastically enlightened by a confidence in their femininity. Colors like berries, pinks, cocoas, pure whites, charcoals and olives were had an sweet sultry to them. The long pleated skirts with silk inserts, the sheerness of lengthy dresses and the softening of menswear fabrics cut in a slim manner all evoked a kind of 'bookishly' strong femininity and slight androgyny. The shortest hem lengths were the trousers which grazed the ankles and all skirts had modest fullness. Sensuality was pulled not from the revealing of skin but rather from the confidence to know how to reveal skin and maintain dignity. A delightful fur pullover, soft tulle layering under skirts and the semi-sheers against skin also told a story of the smart sensuality of knowing how to pleasure your senses to let whoever may follow suit.