By Jaja Nwokeabia
Kara Laricks distinctively genderless designs won her top prize on the first season of Fashion Star. For her much-anticipated debut Spring 2013 presentation, she stayed true to her design philosophy, unveiling a 15-piece collection rich in masculine elements, and starved for color. Perched on podiums inside a raw industrialspace on Pier 57, models in black lipstick and slicked hair pulled back into frizzy ponytails displayed conservative high necklines, loose fit shorts and midi-dresses. Although Laricks has cleary mastered an androgynous aesthetic, she still seemed to be struggling with incorporating femininity into her pieces. Some models seemed to drown in shapeless shift dresses and baggy rompers. The collection could certainly have also done without a dowdy and bulky skirt-pant that cropped above the ankle. But the grade school teached-turned-designer did achieve a alluring balance with a few pieces. For example, a beautiful white organza maxi dress layered with a silk charmeuse slip lent a romantic touch. A tangerine collared dress in organza and silk added a much welcomed burst of color toLarick’s otherwise monochromatic choice of black, white and pale yellow. And one could just imagine the perfectly cut navy blue organza/silk playsuit on a Hollywood starlet. Clearly Laricks’ talent rests in having created a strong brand identity anchored by genderless garments, like the ones that made her a reality TV retail “fashion star.” But in the real world, there are no VIP retailer judges on stage critiquing garments and tweaking details to make them easier to digest for the mass market. This is Fashion Week and all training wheels are off. Perhaps, Laricks could have benefited from a friendly reminder that at the end of the day her menswear-influenced garments still must be wearable by women who also seek to embrace their feminine side, not hide it.
Photo Credit: www.styleite.com