If the key to creating a successful clothing line is repetition lacedwith a little fashion, then Olivier Theyskens has gotten the memo.Since teaming with Theory’s Andrew Rosen, Theyskens has settled into areliable formula — not necessarily a bad thing — of tailored daywear,denim, tweed jackets and shorts and little dresses that are oftenknitted, followed by a finale of dramatically melancholy gowns. Springat Theyskens’ Theory was no exception. But this time, what in the pastwas a nimble fusion of Theyskens’ often strong penchant for fantasticalGoth-grunge and Theory’s Theory-ness — it is a company that rose toglory by the seat of its great-fitting work pants — appeared caught in atug of war.

At first, Theyskens seemed intent on a fairly aggressive grungemotif anchored in dark colors and boxy fit. Black suits featured bigjackets and wide-leg pants that created a long, square silhouette. Therewas also head-to-toe leather — a thick, black jacket worn over a blueshirt and matching pants. Maybe the clothes blended too much into thedark setting, but they didn’t hold up to what was meant as a strongstatement. The best of the dark stuff was a cleanly tailored coatdressand a long, navy baseball jacket cut with dramatic volume. Then,suddenly, things turned icy blue with tweeds, washed-out jeans anddresses and jackets replete with sparkly snowflakelike embroideries.Prettier and more feminine than the previous looks, the soft stuff stillhad an edge even if it felt out of context.

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