Gregory Parkinson’s Fall show could not have been more different from last season’s resplendent collection. For starters: the setting. Last September, Parkinson chose an expansive, sun-drenched loft space overlooking the Hudson. The sun that shot through those windows brought out the layered glow of those beautiful party dresses. This season he opted for a room at the Nomad Hotel that was so dark it looked gas-lit.
As for the clothes, they had that same Byzantine Parkinson touch – a fair, but subtle use of Lurex, crafty fabrications and tie-dye. There was plenty of his signature sleight-of-hand at work here. You have to come close to see what lies beneath in Parkinson’s clothes. His is really a palimpsestic groove. But for Fall, he gave himself a challenge – to deliver Fall as the rest of the country can actually see it and feel it (Parkinson is LA-based). So he went dark. Very dark. The inverse of last Spring’s dazzle. Skirts came tiered and floor-length; baroque even. What kept them in today’s realm were the hand dye techniques he employed. One of the standouts was a long black, tiered skirt whose tips were dipped in a batch of leaf green and Yves Klein blue. It’s a shame he opted for a range of bunched together black mannequins to show his work. They sucked much of the life that exists in these clothes.
Admittedly, the look-book was of better service to the collection (save for those horrid shoes). The tops, though as intricately worked as the attention-grabbing skirts, almost felt like afterthoughts, but not quite. Those floral lace embroidered sleeveless pieces will have plenty of life with customers in sunny climates. And his little cropped sweaters, one embellished in purple sequins, the other in rhubarb, were also welcome additions. If it weren’t for that hotel room. The circumstances made you want to look around and ask the catering staff to fetch these dresses a glass of water. Something to bring them back to life.