Kenneth Cole’s spring collection, to be shown tonight at New York’s Cedar Lake in a high-tech installation with 40 models on two elevated platforms, carries much significance for the designer. For starters, the clothes reach stores in a year that marks his 30th anniversary in business. They also come shortly after taking the company private last month and represent the first fruits of Cole’s collaboration with consulting creative director Kobi Halperin, who joined in June. Additionally, Cole plans to return to fashion week with a runway show in February, his first since spring 2006.
Clearly, there is a lot going at Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., but Cole is taking things in stride. “The goal has been to elevate slowly, methodically; to continue to be more relevant, and reintroduce ourselves to the Kenneth Cole woman, from the ankle up,” he said during a preview.
Spring is a major step in that direction. “It’s a little bit more feminine, a little warmer, more comfortable,” Cole said. “These clothes are meant to feel lived in, preserved and authentic.”
Click Here to See the Full Collection >>
Many of the silhouettes are more languid than Cole’s typically stricter repertoire, and the influence of Halperin, previously the executive creative director at Elie Tahari, is evident in the North African and Middle Eastern touches — i.e., artisanal details like hand-painted studs on shirt collars, rich gold beading and embroidery — and plays on volume, transparency and layering. Looks include a formfitting miniskirt teamed with an elongated chiffon shirt, its hem peeking out beneath the skirt for a fluid touch, as well as reimagined motorcycle jackets, some in oversize proportions, another rendered with a tuxedo take.
The men’s offering has a similar sensibility: moto jackets with paint splatters, Bermuda shorts and jackets in coated linen, shirts and pants with hand-embroidery. Sweaters have been hand-painted, while drawstring pants and vests serve as layering pieces. The overall effect is at once urban and nomadic.
“It was interesting to think about movement on the body and play with proportion,” Halperin said. “We created something much more emotional.”
As for Cole, he didn’t mince words when defining the new direction: “I would not have been able to do a collection like this as a public company.”
Indeed, Cole seemed to welcome the recent development and the opportunity it represents for his company’s future. He said it was liberating to not be held accountable to report results every three months, and it allows the company to build its business in a “more realistic way.”
“Today there are certain expectations,” he said. “That requires investment, which is treated as an expense when you’re public. It’s sensible and strategic for a private company. Advertising and marketing — those are an expense when you’re public, and an investment when you’re private.”
Perhaps that underscores his decision to return to fashion week next season, though this being Cole, he doesn’t plan to do it the traditional way. “The world is changing so much, the purpose of a runway has changed,” he said. “We’re thinking about it in a way that makes sense…how to make it more timely, more relevant.”
He’s keeping details mum, as he is for the anniversary festivities, which Cole said “are not all figured out. Principally, we will celebrate the anniversary to the industry in the spring and to the consumer in the fall. It will two-tiered, with events that incorporate the social side as well as fashion.” Among the plans is a book with Rizzoli about the 30-year journey — “Where we have been, where we are and where we are going,” he said.
“We built this business by doing things in an interesting way,” Cole added. “We’re always challenging ourselves to rethink the model — is this the way to do it?”
He then offered a prime example of such thinking: “Next year is the ninth anniversary of our 21st anniversary — 21 is a lot cooler than 30.”
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews