Krista Kelly: Oiled Silk and Saucy Tomboys
All photos Chona Kasinger
Ignore the gray days and smeary bullshit snowfall a couple weeks ago, because now spring is really here, and emerging superstar designer Krista Kelly has created a mini-capsule line as an accompaniment to nature's upcoming smorgasbord of sunshine and petals. It's called Hoyden, in tribute to a particularly saucy variety of tomboy, and in the fashion photographs, Krista's model comes off as an intense but dreamy woman with exquisite manners who probably smells like gingerbread houses and has never had a cavity and collects antique microscopes.
Krista's work often plays up paradoxical combinations. (Prior to this, she was best known for her transformations of vintage T-shirts into underpants.) Hoyden's geometric mini-sleeves and high-low hems are trending now, while the slacks' scalloped cuffs were pulled directly from long-forgotten '30s-era golf-wear styles. Other more distant influences include '40s garments, like floaty blouses, with their heavily padded shoulders; those were so wildly popular, they made their way into nightgowns for a time.
Krista also collects images from the constructivism and Bauhaus art movements, with their clean lines, strange tensions, and flat blocks of color. Her hues of dawns, apricots, and pastel pinks recall the cheeks of porcelain dolls, though as it happens, this same palette was also used for the "protection costumes" made of "pure oiled silk" detailed in 1939 London Harvey Nichols store advertisements, in a time when women lived each day in full catastrophe mode, as stylishly as possible: "The wearer can cover a distance of two hundred yards through mustard gas and the suit can be slipped over ordinary clothes in thirty-five seconds." As a suggested accessory, "a special pair of mittens... designed to cover up the head space unprotected by the ordinary gas mask."
In other current fashion happenings, creative director Francisco Hernandez debuted his Built for Man Fall/Winter 2014 collection at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and with it came fitted black leather jumpsuits offset with white embroidery in columns along the arms and legs ($2,200 at David Lawrence boutique). These stitches spell bad ass, but they're rendered in binary code, which either reverses or magnifies the intended effect, I can't tell which. In either case, the pairing of daunting messages with bodily inscriptions appears to be our city's latest trend. One trend-hunter recently spotted a striking figure walking near City Hall Park wearing skimpy shorts to showcase a "Try me, bitch!" written in black Sharpie on the bare upper thigh.
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