The decidedly un-Spring like weather that has Northern California in its icy grip this week makes even the idea of sandal and swimsuit shopping seem far off, and it makes the desire for the subtle luxury of a perfectly cut coat, a cozy yet cool jacket, or a neat little sweater dress stronger than ever. Woolrich John Rich and Bros Black Label Fall 2011 collection, offered just such pieces.
Surprisingly dark both metophorically and much to our photographer's frustration, literally, the Woolrich presentation at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was the perfect match between old and new with creative, edgy designs that hinted at the historic houses' sportsman past.
From the almost entirely blacked-out setting, to the hazy film playing on loop everything about the Woolrich presentation felt fresh and urban with a palatable toughness that seemed to scream, I may look pretty but don't even think about messing with me.
All of this attititude feels like a stark contradiction to the 180 year old Woolrich label's business which, until the launch of John Rich & Bros. Black Label line, has been rooted in the "sporting apparel for outdoorwear" marketplace. (Think LL BEAN with a lot more forest-cred). But contradiction is exactly what creative director Paula Gerbase had in mind when she began creation of the line.
Described as as "exploration of masculinity and femininty" the line is said to have begun with Woolrich Heritage pieces which Gerbase "deconstructed down to their soft inner workings, taking very masculine pieces and drawing out their feminity by bringing them down to only the bare essentials."
The end effect was brilliant; sharp silhouettes in soft, subtle plaids that faded to gray, fitted parkas that defied reason with their flattering shape, and collarless overcoats with skinny belts that could easily be left on all night.
For more information on Woolrich John Rich & Bros. visit the brand's official web home.