Narciso Rodriguez’s penchant for garnering inspiration from the art world is, by now, a well-established tradition. But while spring looked to the tattooed, figurative work of Korean artist Kim Joon, pre-fall offered a starting point closer to home. “I sometimes paint with oils and acrylics in my apartment on weekends,” revealed the New York–based designer, gesturing to the vibrantly abstract bottle-green, silver, and saffron brushstrokes that featured on athletic tanks, sheaths, and fit-and-flare dresses at his presentation Tuesday morning. “We’ve been playing with the idea of creating painterly effects on woven fabrics for a few seasons now,” he added. “We just keep evolving . . . and computerizing them.”
For pre-fall that meant photographing Rodriguez’s own handiwork through sheets of glass to achieve prints with mesmerizing and refracted prism-effects. That sharp, graphic attitude was then adroitly carried over into the actual rendering of the clothes as well, by way of angular cuts and seams. “We experimented with tailoring techniques to create a new type of structure,” he said, pulling out a silk-blend sheath with stretch jersey panels. “I looked at different ways of fitting, like working with these corset details from the archives. There was a lot of attention to detail.”
Whether the technical cross-body harnessing on elegant paint-splattered dresses or the generous selection of multi-textured, color-block knits in silver-gray, creamy beige, and shocking red, that acute attention to detail has certainly paid off. But while clever modes of construction are to be expected—deceptively simple minimalism is, after all, Rodriguez’s modus operandi—a freer, more committed use of color was refreshingly new. Full-blown scarlet outerwear took center stage and added punch to otherwise sumptuously rich jewel tones. This was a season in which dresses and skirts showcased more green and violet than Rodriguez’s usual black and white.