Cynthia Rowley has a knack for sprinkling humor and playfulness into her presentations, and spring was a shining example. There was genuine laughter and joy from the hooting-and-hollering crowd as a roller derby crew rolled into her Morton Street studio clad in her latest collection. As the music bumped on, Rowley’s signature flowered and ruffled dresses zipped around the room as did newer, stronger boyish silhouettes like a Gauguin-inspired floral and diamond print oversize camp shirt or shrunken cropped polos. The women pulled out all sorts of roller derby stunts: cartwheels in the embroidered camp shirt and gingham pant, somersaults and booty pops in a matching floral blazer and bike short set, furious twirling in light-as-air slip dresses. Rowley’s highly coveted surf and swim neoprene also made its debut in ready-to-wear for the first time via a breakdancing skater in a strapless mini tube dress.
The morning of the presentation, she shot her lookbook against a painted moon backdrop — as a kid, Rowley dreamed of being an astronaut. She styled the models to look as if they were traveling to the moon; there was even an acid-washed “moon surface” button-down. The performance might not purposely have been all about the clothes, but maybe it should have been, because boy did they look amazing flying through space.