Thursday, January 3, 2013


Every once and a while, I come upon a label that makes me think 'almost, but not quite'. As in, I like it, but there's something missing, something big enough to make me not post about the label. Then, in a few of these instances, I get my head out of my ass, do a bit more digging, and realize that I've come upon something great. The problem is thinking that to really like a label, I have to like every collection. And when I'm looking at the newest collection first, that's often a problem. I think that some designers feel they have more time to design what they really want to when they're starting out, resulting in a collection (i.e. often the graduate collection) full of show-stopping pieces. Then, when they start gaining more attention and buyers, there's the pressure of sticking to the fashion week schedule, creating not only two collections, but complete collections with multiple pieces that haven't each been obsessed about for months or even years. When this shift occurs and sacrifices have to be made, in my opinion the best thing to focus on is not a collection of show-stopping pieces, but that one particular show-stopping element that can be repeated throughout the collection. It becomes not about creating a collection full of signature pieces, but about experimenting with that signature detail or two, and seeing how it can be translated in various different pieces. This is how I've interpreted my quick retrograde tour of today's find, À LA DISPOSITION, a London-based label from married duo Daniel and Lynda (née Cohen) Kinne. The most recent collection (S/S 13) of this avant-garde womenswear label definitely caught my attention with the title ('M!sf!t Toys') and the layered rectangles and other geometric/3D details in most of the pieces (see below). Yet the collection didn't quite do it for me...

But, after at look at the Kinnes' earlier work, the collection makes a lot more sense. A look at the 2009-10 collections reveals the Kinnes' affinity to avant-garde officewear, featuring unexpected shapes in basic pieces (for example, the F/W 09 look in the top photo) and plenty of volume (particularly seen in the brilliant 'balloon dress' from the S/S 09 collection entitled 'lighterthanair'; see below).

This aesthetic is then transformed into a fully-realized collection, F/W 11/12 'Utopian Aviary', where each piece is inspired by and named after a bird (see below). 

Perhaps my head is still up my you-know-what, but these earlier designs as a collective whole seem to capture the aesthetic of À LA DISPOSITION more than a quick glance at the M!sf!t collection. Or, rather, they exhibit the fact that there is more often than not a historical context that must be considered in looking at a designer's work, and so a collection should not be viewed in isolation. In any event, how I found this label was through the photo below in Fashion156's preview of the upcoming menswear A/W 13 collections. Meaning that the Kinnes have a lot more up their sleeve, and their story is about to get a lot more interesting...

(Runway photos via UK Vogue, other photos besides the Fashion156 one via Facebook)

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