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A week ago today Duckie Brown presented their AW13 collection in New York. Whilst posters around the city suggested a potential print-fest, perhaps a wintry take on the ‘bruised roses‘ of SS12, what emerged was a brilliantly executed reversal of expectation with a a play on the whole concept of ‘outerwear’ and layering.
Whilst Daniel had hinted that the collection would be “tough again – poofy lad”, Steven‘s summing up: “changing layering around and using heavy wool for linings and light fabric for the outer shell…no shirts but underneath coats instead of shirts coats made of shirting…sweatshirts in wool and shirting both over and under coats” gave more clues to their thinking.
And the collection was full of perennial Duckie Brown interests, “I think we have done the same thing every season…. We just keep refining and keep asking questions'” said Steven, “there are many constants in the collection. I love repetition, the same thing over and over and over.”
What was consistent for me in this collection was their genius touch with colour: the pink, blues, camel and black seem at once classic and very modern. And overall, the interest in proportion and length and reversing expectations around both are very Duckie, making me think of the oversized shirts and coats of AW12 and their signature wide pants.
The most notable outline in the collection was that of a bomber worn over a longer coat. This is a strong street look, familiar from attending fashion weeks here and in New York, and finding echoes in Agi & Sam’s layered bodywarmers over longer coats and Siki Im’s personal streetwear. Whilst this trend might not be unique to the Duckies, they put their own stamp on it by extending the play on layering to include the fabrication itself.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Duckies work, but in this collection in particular there was so much I want to wear. The appeal is not only because of the items themselves, but the opportunities they provide to be combined and layered, in “how” they can be worn.
Looking back at these images now reminded of a quote by Coco Chanel that seems a good note to end on: “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.” In bringing this central tenet of fashion design to the forefront, the Duckies have also reminded us of the importance of playfulness in creating and wearing clothes.
Here are some of my favourite looks with comments on what makes them so great.
Starting out with the strongest shape of all, that bomber over the red wool coat. I love how the fabric of the bomber could be a lining, reversing the convention of the woolen outer later underneath it.
Here the zip-fronted top layer ends in a curved shirt hem which is then echoed in multiple hemlines.
A variation, here the shininess of the top layer jacket really emphasises its potential other life as a lining.
The layering and fabric play is here extended to a more conventional overcoat but with the visual surprise of pink tweed beneath the sleeves.
Throughout, empiecement trousers suggests yet more layers.
And finally, the familiar workwear shapes of this jacket and trousers is subverted by being created in a powerful blue wool, to be more expected in a swanky overcoat.