It has been 30 years since Kenneth Cole got started selling shoes from a truck, and seven since he last showed on a runway during New York Fashion Week.
Much has since changed, including the advent of social media, which Cole embraced wholeheartedly this season. An elaborate video intro featured catchy tag lines — “Yield to Social Netwalking,” “We don’t care if people love it, we just want them to ‘like’ it” — and, during the finale, Cole’s models aimed handheld devices at the audience. If it played as a little gimmicky, it had a certain charm, particularly since, as they clicked and tweeted, the models wore those most obscure of fashion accessories — big smiles.
Against an impressive backdrop projection of the New York skyline, Cole and creative director Kobi Halperin presented a lineup with a distinct downtown vibe. The clothes were rendered mostly in black and gray with some military green and burgundy, along with lots of leather details and metallics, like the shimmery yarn shot through a sweater and the big silver lapels on a black coat. The mood was at once urban and futuristic. Taken apart, there were many strong pieces, including an array of outerwear and knitted skirts with an air of casual chic. But their appeal was sometimes shrouded by the aggressive styling: extreme layering, strange hologramlike lenticular panels of moving birds. Cole’s best exits were the least complicated, such as a color-blocked gray-and-burgundy wool coat over a ruched jersey dress.
Cole extended the futuristic touch to his men’s wear with some demonstrative looks, i.e., a wool bomber jacket worked with another lenticular trick. The outerwear pieces, including voluminous wool coats, sharply cut topcoats with contrasting leather sleeves, hooded parkas and cropped puffers were the standouts.