by Alex R. Travers
First image: a black leather sleeve jacket with a Pop Art print of Obama. He’s holding up a bar code—you know, the ones we all have to scan to get our seating assignments for the show—and wearing black sunglasses. Under the jacket, a cream turtleneck shell peaks its head out. Beneath it all, a black pleated skirt falls right at the knee. Black ankle-length boots with red straps kick their way up the catwalk. Today is the Chinese New Year and the stage is set in vibrant hues of red and black.
The Vivienne Tam Fall 2013 collection, crafted with a poet’s eye by the New York designer, was inspired by “the conceptual underpinnings of the punk movement.” There were pleasures of the unexpected. A red leather ponte shell with zippers and cropped cargo trousers packed punches of edginess. A faille one-shoulder wrap dress donned a print of a Mao Zedong letter—it looked like Cy Twombly practicing Chinese calligraphy. My favorite: a leather and melton jacket that pinched in the middle creating a V-line on the chest and an A-line on the stomach. Now, that’s how you channel classic grunge! The black pointed heels with red ankle straps were brutally sexy.
There were some misses. A camel and black parka looked warped and created a puffy silhouette. Not flattering. Mushroom-green high-waisted taffeta pants covered half the model in a blanket of bland. Still, there were only a few faults. Tam puts magic into everything she touches and her Fall 2013 show was a ride you didn’t want to end.