by Alex R. Travers
These days, it feels like craftsmanship takes a back seat to shock value. Fashion audiences yawn you off and the media focuses its attention on what’s trending. Tomas Maier’s eponymous line has been flying under the radar since 1997, now getting loads of press because of Kering’s investment.
Lucky for him, and his clients, Wes Gordon follows his own path. Being “on-trend” or “Instagram-worthy” is probably the last thing on his mind. For resort, the designer mentioned Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, recalling her style and unforgettable acclaim as “the ultimate beautiful person.” But beauty aside, Bessette-Kennedy was not really a fashion icon in the traditional sense of the term. We remember the woman, the perfect picture of grace, over her specific selection of wares. (For example: Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, Blake Lively in Gucci, etc., etc.) Which makes her an interesting choice for Wes, who, since last year, has shifted the attention from his clothes to his women.
It’s a simple story on the surface. Purity trumps all. A three quarter–length sleeveless dress in white is jaw-dropping. His periwinkle slip is seductive. The romantic fixation also figures its way into slightly oversized blouses, slouchy camisole tops, and a collared wrap dress that underscores the easiness of the collection. Just as impressive is the tailoring and the way Gordon stays true to that ease. The clothes slide on as straightforwardly as his new slippers, another smart collaboration he’s done with Manolo Blanhik.
Back when Wes was at Central Saint Martins, he crafted his graduate collection out of glass (talk about shock value). His fall 2103 collection played with proportions, sizes, and shapes (not to mention wild colors). Now, his clothes speak fewer words, relying on the women to make the visual impression. And when those women walk in the room, you’ll pay attention.