13 february mmxii
A Détacher Fall/Winter 2012 Runway Review
It finally feels like winter ’round these parts. To brave the unwinsome weather, I wore my favorite A Détacher knit sweater dress; oversized, the perfect layering piece to combat the cold and underneath, a pair of their warmest alpaca tights known to human legs. I always feel like myself when I don any of Mona Kowalska’s creations. She is inherently able to infuse smart into cool into biauté. Mark and I hustled over to Pier 59, soft, quiet snowflakes cascading horizontally in harmony with the strong gusts of frigid wind. It was the perfect prelude for the scene we were soon to enter.
According to designer, Mona Kowalska, the inspiration for her Fall/Winter 2012 collection is “Superb Fujiyama, the sacred mountain”. Mt. Fuji is one of three of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains”. Although there have been many interpretations of the origin of “Fuji”, conflicting sources say it means neverending, not to exhaust, or fire deity. Still an active volcano, its last eruption was eons ago, from 1707–1708. Noted for its unusually symmetrical cone shape, Fujiyama’s beauty is marveled at and depicted in many works of art. Designers have referenced Japan as a theme before, but Mona was able to translate it figuratively at the core of her collection. It was a perfect push and pull between heaven and earth, fire and water, the living and the dead. My own visual interpretation imagined the haunted forest at the base of Fujiyama, beautiful and cunning deities, powerful geisha queens, and samurai warriors.
Look after look, the consistency of the collection was never broken, distracted, or waning. Neon oranges and pinks, bursting from clothing and makeup, complimented powder blue manicures. The smokey eyes, accentuated by false bottom lashes and the structured, curled, fanned hairstyle were geisha-inspired. Black, grey, cream, and brown neutrals against the fluorescence of the brighter hues played up the serenity of the former colors. The expert execution of proportions, the perfect blend of loose and fitted. Gorgeous, sumptuous silk and floral ditties worked well with the dark plaid, black lace, and black on black large polka dots. Clever, exaggerated drop shoulder lantern sleeves, obi-like waistbands on the knit skirts and pants, even the white chunky knit hat resembled snow atop the apex of Fujiyama. The fiery bursts of color, easily, molten lava.
My senses were devastated. I’m usually deft with the written word, but there was a definite sensory overload. If I could have politely asked the models for their high waisted knit pants, safety orange stockings, or the navy and white silk cherry blossom dress, in dreams, they would oblige. Wooden heeled suede ankle boots with a cut-out at the back of the foot (a reverse peeptoe, if you will) and velcro closure are already on my wishlist. It’s not only what I want to wear now, but it’s what I would hold onto dearly for future falls and winters to come. There is a timeless credibility to A Détacher that many of-the-moment designers lack. Although never mainstream, A Détacher is always diverging/converging and is very active, having initially erupted in 1998 into the world of art and fashion. Since then, brilliant eruptions have occurred twice a year. Fujiyama? Monayama!
words Doris Ho-Kane
images Mark Ho-Kane