Narciso Rodriguez’s inspiration board was covered with images of the dramatic, some would say weird, work of artist Kim Joon, whose large-scale, swirl-heavy tattoos make for fascinating and ponderous viewing. How clever that the designer invoked that material so obliquely. The result was an impressive collection that pulsed with different-drummer vitality in the midst of this print-heavy season.
Rodriguez opened with a black top over white pants, its simple premise turned power statement courtesy of a bold, flapped asymmetric waistband. He then increased the intensity of offbeat geometry, stripes, bands and squares going this way and that, hard lines keeping company with gentle curves. For the most part this resonated boldly in plays of black, white, sand and glorious water tones, even if, midshow, a few looks crossed over from complicated to confusing.
Rodriguez’s consideration of Joon led him to a larger range of Asian references, including the traditional silks of kimonos, which he cut up into collage pieces. When he went for pattern, it was with subtlety, his pale jellyfish a savvy respite from the bold graphics that dominated the collection and a soothing, lower-case alternative to the cacophony of PRINTS all over New York. Also gentle, the show-closing dresses in white and pale silver jacquard and devorés veiling underlying “shards” of color. These seemed to float down the runway, and they looked great.