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Nicholas K Fall 2013 Collection — Arctic Exploration Meets New Age Mysticism

It was  challenging to pinpoint the exact overarching theme in the Nicholas K Fall 2013 collection shown yesterday at 9:00 a.m. at The Studio in Lincoln Center. On the one hand, there were glossy and slick but heavily layered leather looks in coal black that felt somewhat apocalyptic, as if designed for Trinity and Neo  to fight the machine-created Matrix in subzero temperatures (check out a perfect example above, at top). On the other hand, there were shearling- and fur-lined capes and coats, cropped hooded ponchos, chunky wool and knit sweaters and infinity scarves, and hoodies galore, all of which suggested we were entering a world in which sub-zero temperatures were the norm. Steely, moody shades of moss green, heather gray, slate blue, and seafoam green reinforced this notion of an arctic universe. And yet the abundance of diaphanous, semi-sheer asymmetrical skirts, dresses, and one-shoulder silk and chiffon tops, often adorned with necklaces bearing large, chunky, clear quartz pendants in their rawest, most natural form, were reminiscent of an entirely different landscape, one more akin to Sedona, Arizona, in which New Age beliefs regarding energy vortexes and crystal healing rituals flourish. But even these breezier, more carefree, Bohemian pieces were often layered under chunky sweaters or paired with the snow goggle-inspired eyewear sported by many of the models, featuring clear-colored frames, rectangular shapes, and string tie closures along the back rather than the traditional elastic bands. In the end, the collection felt like it was about intrepid explorers venturing into uncharted territories – whether it was the bone-chilling, glacial expanses of the  Polar Plateau of the Antarctic and the Summit Region of Greenland, the spiritually transcendental vortex sites in Sedona, or the futuristic realm outside the Matrix.

Apparently, this is precisely the type of effect that designers and siblings Nicholas and Christoper Kunz hoped to create with their Fall 2013 collection. Initially, the designers derived inspiration from the Arctic explorations of the 19th and early 20th centuries, often spearheaded by admirals, captains , and naval lieutenants— among them John Ross and Robert McClure. The abundance of hooded garments, parkas, and sumptuous fur trimmings, then, nodded to the cold climates these explorers encountered, while the color scheme — which included hues dubbed  “Alga Heather,” “Alga,” “Kelp,”  and “Mariner “— referenced the landscape in areas like North Greenland, where glaciers abound and most of the land is an ice-capped tundra  throughout winter but summer provides a hint of reprieve, with some of the ice melting to reveal moss, cotton grass, and lichen covering the ground. The sheen of the silk, satin and leather fabrics used to craft dresses, harem pants, and leggings also spoke to the reflective sheen of icy surfaces and ocean expanses. But, of course, in typical Nicholas K fashion, this Arctic inspiration was given a bit of a twist so as to create a collection that felt strong and confident, while also incorporating an urban aesthetic (just look at the spectacularly draped lapels on the leather jacket shown second from top, along with the matching slim-fitting pants, which feature triangular wool patches) and a free-spirited, New Age-y vibe (as with the two asymmetrical dresses shown above).

Check out the video above for a glimpse at the finale walk at the Nicholas K Fall 2013 show!

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