CUSHNIE ET OCHS AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK
Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs opened their show this afternoon by sending out curvaceous model Crystal Renn in one of the brand’s signature skintight dresses, this one a dirty-pink confection of power crepe and mesh. The move came off as a bit of a riposte to critics who’ve complained in the past that Cushnie and Ochs make clothes exclusively for whippet-thin Amazonian types: Look, they seemed to be saying, anyone can wear body con. We dare you! And yet much of the clothing that followed Renn’s exit suggested that Cushnie and Ochs have been devoting serious attention to diversifying their silhouettes, presumably in aid of expanding their clientele.
Inspired by aerial photos of earth and thoughts of floating in deep space, the collection was heavy on soft, sculptured draping, as in a white mesh dress with a nice feeling of weightlessness to it. The best looks here had a similar sense of movement, like the cropped top with cape sleeves worn with sharp boot-cut trousers, or the rust and navy pieces done in a stretchy ribbed viscose blend. There were other highlights, too—a strapless pencil dress paneled along one side in skin-baring, graphic black mesh; a lean suit of emerald velvet that was très Tom Ford at Gucci (no complaints); a giant jade-colored fur.
Indeed, the outerwear here was consistently strong, and Cushnie and Ochs would do well to make it more of a focus. Though they’ve made a signature of sexiness, what these designers really gravitate toward—pun intended—is a high-impact look, and the crisper the silhouettes of their dresses and separates, the better they do. Outerwear is also a good outlet for that high-impact thinking. Cushnie and Ochs should test their clothes against this question: Is this proposition strong enough that it can be read from space?