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W118 by Walter Baker Spring 2013 Presentation — Jetsetting Style Set To A Modern Beat

Designer Walter Baker showcased his W118 by Walter Baker Spring 2013 collection, inspired by the “modern jetsetter,” during a presentation held on September 7th in The Box at Lincoln Center.  Models stood on a V-shaped platform (as shown in the photo above, second from top), all wearing Skullcandy headphones and seemingly grooving to the beats pumped by the speakers beneath the glossy ear cups.  The fashions showcased followed a progression that perhaps spoke to the many stop-overs in a female rolling stone’s life, starting with ethnic-flavored rope prints and lush green-and-yellow tribal feather prints, then moving into a punchier realm of colorful turquoise, coral, and fuchsia pieces, followed by an even more kaleidoscopic range of tie-dye-inspired psychedelic prints. The first 13 looks, then, dazzled and excited — from a resort-inspired ensemble consisting of a turquoise-colored long sleeved blouse paired with coral wide leg trousers (possibly my favorite look) to a white blazer with a green-and-ochre tribal feather print that resembled palm tree leaves paired with micro shorts in the very same print and a flame orange button-down blouse (another standout). For a bit of a ’70s, Janis Joplin-esque vibe, some pieces incorporated a rainbow-colored print consisting of distorted daisies in shades of fluorescent blue, shocking pink, cyan green, and deep orange, these kaleidoscopic floral renditions structured into rows to create a striped pattern (check out a close-up of the “psychedelic daisy” print below).  A “parrot jungle” print, meanwhile, added an Amazonian quality to garments like tuxedo pants and slouchy tanks, with the salmon-colored garments showing a kaleidoscopic view of these tropical birds that was as colorful as it was psychotropic. Rope detailing and navy-and-white ikat patterns intensified the tropical feel of some of the garments, while high-low hemlines, sheer paneling along the back, and exposed zipper details added a contemporary and decidedly urban edge.

Perhaps the look positioned at the center of the V-shaped stage, the one meant to lure audiences in, best integrated the many elements at play, with a parrot print tuxedo pant evoking a trip to a rainforest, a raw-edged aqua blue silk tank top conveying a Santorini-esque vibe, and a dip-dyed motorcycle jacket in gradient shades of yellow adding a city slick twist.

Since most of the prints and bright colors were showcased during the first half of the presentation, all positioned on one side of the V-shaped platform), the remaining looks felt a bit sedated by comparison, with most incorporating only shades of white, black, and sky or denim blue. Still, what these garments lacked in color, they more than made up for in detailing. A simple short-sleeved white shift dress, for instance, featured a laser-cut insert that extended the mid-thigh hemline to a knee length, the tiny square cut-outs on the semi-sheer fabric creating an interesting peek-a-boo effect. This same laser-cut detailing was used to craft a slightly A-line, ankle-length skirt, with a black short underlay working to counteract the transparency of the perforated material.

Rather than colors and prints, then, this second grouping of looks emphasized textural juxtapositions and the interplay between opacity and transparency. A denim-like sky blue chambray shirt, for instance, featured long white sleeves with eyelets and a matching white collar. Similarly, a diaphanous white lace material with a floral motif was sewn solid white shorts to create a full-length tuxedo pant for a cheeky play on sheer versus subfusc.

Still, the W118 by Walter Baker Spring 2013 collection was at its best when it reveled in an explosion of color, tropical prints, tribal motifs, and psychedelic elements while doing  so in a sophisticated manner that felt smart and sharp without ever compromising the garments’ youthful exuberance.

Take a look at more photos from the presentation below — including close-ups of Walter Baker’s new handbag styles, detailed photos of the prints and garment details, and shots of the Michael Antonio heels worn by all the models.

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