Duckie Brown, AW14: The Duckie Has Two Faces
My support of Duckie Brown is no secret, their studio was among the first I visited for Sharpened Lead and I love the fact that their vision is so oppositional to most of what can be seen in New York in terms of men’s fashion. As I reported earier this week, the Duckies presented womenswear alongside the menswear for AW14 which feels like a natural progression of the constant gender boundary-pushing within their work. I can see that a Duckie Brown women’s line could be a big hit, arguably there are more fashionable women in New York who know of and celebrate the duo as designers (I meet many of them) than men who would wear such high-fashion pieces in that city, where understatement in menswear is by far the norm. My only fear was that the menswear would be outshone, but, if anything, the womenswear pieces only made the men’s seem more exceptional. For AW14, Duckie Brown continued to explore the short-over-long disrupted proportions of recent seasons, with bombers over slim coats (creating skirt-like layers) over silky trousers in exotic, Chinoiserie-toned brights. This season the Florsheim collaborative shoes were elegant evening slippers in chic black leather suggesting dressing for haute occasions rather than battling the elements. The boxy double-faced T-shirt also reappeared and proportion play continued with the exaggerated widths of the cropped military greatcoats. The clash of strong colours was echoed in clashing fabrics, with some great woven pieces and a digital print blurred until it looks like a watercolour. “Masculine” pieces like the donkey jacket and the cropped yet broad-shouldered coats were contrasted with the silkiness of the pants. It’s not unusual for designers to show menswear and womenswear side by side, what is more interesting here is the interplay between these two elements of the collection: what the womenswear said about clothes for men and vice-versa, a fascinating exchange of ideas, as if a mirror had been held up between the two.