Don’t call ’em leopard spots. The pattern on Edun designer Danielle Sherman’s Spring ’15 calf-hair pieces—slides done in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, covered buttons on a Henley, sections of a kimono coat—were inspired by dots on kponyungo masks, which are used to ward off spirits by tribes of Africa’s Ivory Coast. “They’re imperfect circles,” Sherman said at a preview in the brand’s Soho offices. “We were thinking about the imperfect and the perfect.”
Perfect circles came in the form of patches on the breast pocket of a framed jacket, as a tonal jacquard pattern on a white sweater, and as a loop buckle on an obi belt. Sherman’s initial research typically starts where much of the collection is still produced—Africa. But this season she moved around, drawing from the primary-colored work of Roy Lichtenstein (whose halftones, of course, are made of thousands of circles) as well as judo uniforms, which informed the silhouette of the pants and many of the wrapped shirts. There was a lot of color-blocking, whether on the frame of a cropped suede jacket in navy and azure blue or on a ribbed knit in black and hot red. But the big ideas were in the details: To create the black-and-white striped fabric on the bottom of a pair of trousers (as well as a matching crop top framed in black leather), the Edun team spent hours hand-weaving a synthetic material, which offered that tactile feeling Sherman is often after. And the spotted calf was dyed in cartoonish colors to create a very specific effect. “I wanted it to appear almost artificial,” the designer said.
This is Sherman’s third collection for Edun, and her wares are now at stores like Barneys New York and the Brooklyn chain Bird. They’re there because she’s creating thoughtful clothes for grown-ups, which is rarer than it should be at the emerging designer level. It’s sort of crazy to think that it took Edun, which was founded in 2005, so long to find the right designer to lead the way, but it seems that it did.