W118 by Walter Baker Spring 2013: Hip-hip, ho hum


W118 by Walter Baker left hardly a trend untouched for Spring 2013 at New York Fashion Week. The typically of-the-moment diffusion line hit its marks, sending out jolts of neon, flashes of flesh through eyelets and laser cut inserts, separates in chambray and lace, ikat in chartreuse and navy, peplum jackets and dresses, slouchy slacks and tuxedo pants, tropicalia and rope prints, dimensional pockets and overlays, gauzy maxi skirts and trim shorts. The prints clashed, the textures popped.

It was all there, a study in controlled whimsy. But coming from a designer beloved for ethereal, effortless clothes, is controlled whimsy a good thing?

The label claims as its inspiration the modern jetsetter, a woman of confidence, style and casual elegance. Fine, but does she have to ping pong endlessly between openings in Vegas, Bal Harbour and Dubai? Couldn’t she, you know, hit up a Songkran Festival once in a while, or wear her parrot jungle pants to an actual parrot jungle?

Unlikely. Not in these silhouettes, which take playful fabrics and textures and force them into boxy geometric shapes. The result feels strained and severe. A chambray button-down shirt with eyelet sleeves paired with a white eyelet capri pant calls to mind a nurse on mandatory stress leave, willing herself to relax as she boards the cruise to Hawaii.  An ikat and plaid jacquard dress in chartreuse fits then flares at the waist with all the ease of newlyweds performing a wedding dance. A red and turquoise color block dress dares you to eat lunch (even the wispy model’s stomach was sticking out). Dimensional exterior pockets layered over denim shorts feel at once utilitarian and useless.

Beneath the profusion of tropical prints and happy textures, everything is austerity, severity, precision. A sign of these sober times? Maybe. Still, we’re used to seeing W118 smile from the heart. This collection merely shows its teeth.

Photo Gallery: W118 by Walter Baker – Spring 2013
all photos by Kwai Chan / Meniscus Magazine  

Video: W118 by Walter Baker highlights

video by Yuan-Kwan Chan / Meniscus Magazine

Other credits:

Headphones: Skull Candy
Shoes: Michael Antonio
Hair: Catwalk by TIGI
Makeup: Tinte Cosmetics
Music: Kissette