PAM & GELA AUTUMN/WINTER 2015-16 READY-TO-WEAR NEW YORK
If there are two things Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy know, it’s their way around a pair of track pants and exactly who they’re designing them for. That much was proved—yet again—by the runaway success of one of the innovations Pam & Gela introduced last season, French terry track bottoms cut, dyed, and distressed to look like a pair of worn-to-death skinny jeans. All of the tough-girl chic, none of the embarrassment of lying flat on your back trying to drag a pair of stovepipes over your hip bones. Out came the credit cards.
Some brands do this kind of thing and it seems cynical; Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor take aim at the young, grungy, vintage-obsessed hipster girl with a sense of integrity and authority. They are vintage-obsessed, grungy, and young at heart. And their latest collection added much to please their customer: Along with new iterations of those terry “jeans,” there were slouchy wool sweaters, sporty track bottoms with leather detailing, ruched knit dresses, and a healthy selection of leather pants and skirts.
The key to this season’s outing, though, was its outerwear. Nash-Taylor and Skaist-Levy have cannily noted that the easiest way to glam up a low-key look is by throwing on a statement coat; their versions included faux fur teddy coats, fur-lined anoraks, and a shiny biker fully lined with shearling. The sheer practicality of these items clued you in to another kind of integrity and authority the designers bring to their work: They are moms, imagining other women’s daughters buying their clothes. They want them to look cool, but they also want them to stay warm.