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

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

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