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Nicholas K Saddles Up And Goes Urban Cowboy For Its Fall 2012 Show

 


The lights dimmed for what seemed like an atypically lengthy long time at the Nicholas K Fall 2012 show this morning at New York City’s Lincoln Center. “Power outage?” murmured a guest nearby. “Maybe they’re having trouble with the lights,” conjectured another. “I think they’re just being dramatic,” chimed in another. Whatever the cause of the lag, the initial mystery (and the darkness itself) set the tone for what would ensue: a collection that fused together Western motifs with urban sensibilities and blended them all together to a mash-up of Johnny  Cash and gin-soaked rock ‘n’ roll. In other words, the collection was bad to the bone — the type of bad to the bone that makes you think of gun-slinging at the corral and slamming back shots at the saloon, while also referencing such pulpy fare as Desperado and The Matrix. 

As Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” echoed throughout the venue, female models in blunt-edged bobs and ten gallon hats took to the stage, their lips painted a dark, near-black burgundy shade. The Western-goes-downtown influence was clear from the very first look: a pair of black pants paired with a black hoodie and a black wool jacket with an asymmetrical hemline, leather trim along the zippered front, top patch pockets and slit side pockets, and along the oversize collar, which was itself trimmed with plush mink — and, of course, a felted cowboy hat to complete the urban cowgirl effect. Headwear aside, references to the Wild Wild West included long trenchcoats, leather sling vests, fox and mink scarves fashioned to look as chunky and unfinished as animal pelts from freshly hunted game, gauzy scarves wrapped around the head and neck for a nomadic feel, hooded shirts with poncho-like sleeves, knee-high boots with an equestrian flair, and tons of fringe and crochet-like detailing. All the looks were styled with Jewelry by Matt pieces including tortoise shell pendant dangling from wood and agate bead necklaces, buffalo horn pendants threaded through necklaces fashioned out of black jade and coconut shells, hand-carved palm wood necklaces, and even a carved horn pendant necklace (my favorite, shown next to last above).

In keeping with the urban cowboy theme, the color scheme was worthy of a desert landscape, with plenty of sand, dune, russet, forest green, steel gray, hazel brown, Army green, ash grey, and khaki colors mixed with rich blacks and the occasional touch of muted teal, grayish lilac, or rusty copper.

What made the collection particularly fascinating, however, was how traditional Western fare was reinterpreted via the use of asymmetrical cuts, funnel collars (particularly on some of the more stunning coats), lightweight fabrics with plenty of movement, a patchwork-like approach to construction that provided a wealth of texture while looking utterly seamless (as with a jacket featuring leather along the upper portion of the bodice and the funnel collar, a sturdy Army green canvas collar along the lower region of the torso, and cozy knit sleeves from the elbow to the wrists), and clever layering (the latter being a key factor). Add to that the La Femme Nikkita-esque quality of the models’ bobs, and the stage was transformed into a modern-day The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, with cab-lined avenues replacing remote main streets.

This is the type of style every urban girl wants to pull off: confident, strong, and the slightest bit lethal thanks to the scrappy, bandit-like elements and the embrace of outlaw culture.

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