rachel comey spring 2011 ready-to-wear

Rachel Comey
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NEW YORK, September 9, 2010
By Alison Baenen
As any New Yorker can attest, this summer, a.k.a. the Summer of Sweat, was a doozy. Inspired—or, rather, supremely irked—by the record-breaking temperatures, Rachel Comey took on the problem of what to wear when the asphalt starts to bubble. To paraphrase the designer: How do you dress for the heat without looking like a hot mess? Blissfully, Comey offered a multitude of enticing options for those who don’t want to be stuck in cutoffs when the mercury rises.

A section of seriously cool black and white pieces opened the show. A teeny white crop top paired with a high-waisted black skirt showed a few beguiling slices of skin, but the overall effect was tasteful, not tawdry. Ditto the later series of long, high-necked halter dresses in silk overlaid with printed chiffon. The overlay fluttered out from the sides, creating an airy feel and showing off the slightly sheer peekaboo side panels (one option came with a nifty pair of full-coverage undies). There was a hint of Victorian tailoring in crisp, embroidered shirtdresses and tops, but the subtle restraint of a small, round neck; high armbands; and rows of buttons running up the back was nicely offset by the outing’s overall feel of breezy ease.

The light black and white linens gave way to the playful prints in layered poplin and chiffon that have helped Comey build her brand. By the designer’s admission, they were less nostalgic than the graphics of seasons past, and in general this collection was marked by an absence of the quirkiness for quirkiness’ sake that has sometimes overshadowed Comey’s designs. The slightly dressier, more grown-up mood felt right. Chalk it up to the heat wave—or perhaps Comey’s impending motherhood: She’s expecting her first child in January.