style.com: julian louie spring 2011 ready-to-wear
see the complete collection >
NEW YORK, September 10, 2010
By Alison Baenen
It wasn’t your usual fashion inspiration: The Hyena & Other Men, a book of photographs by the South African lensman Pieter Hugo that documents the lives of Nigerian street entertainers and their faunal entourage—three hyenas, two pythons, and four monkeys—provided Julian Louie with this season’s springboard. Influenced by the way Hugo’s human subjects mixed traditional, opulent African garments with found pieces of American athleticwear, Louie played with adornment and collage. An asymmetric silk satin skirt came festooned with tassels like the kind you’d find on a tie-back for a pair of damask curtains, and a crepe de chine shirtdress had a trim of textured haircloth.
During the presentation, Louie explained that he wanted the clothes in the collection to be experienced individually, as an assemblage of parts rather than full looks, so the pieces were shown statically, hung from crisscrossing racks. Running in sharp diagonals along the floor—echoing the clean, geometric lines of Louie’s separates—were the results of the designer’s second collaboration with Aldo. These open-toe wedged ankle boots, made from patchwork suede and contrasting tribal prints in cotton ikat, featured some of the collection’s most playful mixing and matching.
Fingers crossed the kicks make it to stores; they looked great with the clothes and called attention to the subtle, crafty details in Louie’s beautifully constructed pieces.