Rebecca Taylor: Pre-Fall 2014

by Alex R. Travers

Taylor_009_1366.450x675Rebecca Taylor gets women excited about expressing themselves through their wardrobes. From season to season (the stores get 12 deliveries per annum, and the brand is now in its 17th year of business), new developments abound. But lately, it seems, Taylor’s been leading her girls into some fantastically promising places.

Taylor’s always had a style all her own. What’s delightful about the designer is that she’s fun, relaxed, and cool—affectations we all aspire to. Yet, in the past, she hasn’t always clearly translated that autobiographical context through her collections.

Back in September 2011, Taylor revealed that she drew inspiration from everywhere: subjects ranging from artworks at the Louvre to her interns’ wardrobes. In turn, the clothes ran the gamut. While the collection was fine, there was something missing, seemingly the designer’s own aesthetic.

Then came her Fall 2012 collection, set in a rich, wry atmosphere. The Highline Studios’ raw scenery took the Rebecca Taylor girl out of her comfort zone. When the models came out, they were a bit more mysterious and kept you guessing. Here was a woman with a wit and a wardrobe that could switch from girly to gritty in a nanosecond.

But it’s ultimately femininity that lights her collections. For Pre-Fall ’14, there was a floral-printed chiffon maxi dress with expertly executed plissé pleating. The silhouette left the body with its natural line but gave indispensable movement to the skirt. Other looks, like a padded silk jacket and fit-and-flare shifts, delivered delightful textures but respected the curve the shoulders. Her palette of blues, pinks, and floral prints (always a universal symbol of young, feminine life) suggested a light coolness. And this season’s moto jacket—white leather meets printed matelassé—beautifully associated her own love for femininity with a slight attraction to danger.

What was great about this collection was that it was not so carefully arranged. That neat floral print, for example, helped morph the shape of blouses and maxis in a subversive way. The designer’s penchant for patching, additionally, combined fabrics like leather and tweed into expressive wholes. She also alternated between heavy knits and transparency with her cable sweaters.

Taylor, through her creations, is painting a picture that echoes what girls are doing today: mixing and matching statements to create their own identities.