Cast your mind back to the coming-of-age days of American sportswear. Bonnie Cashin. Bill Blass. Early Calvin Klein. There was a certain kind of effortlessness to that chic—the clothes were durable, clean-lined, and had a real sense of ease. Those used to be the defining elements of American sportswear, but not so much anymore. Unless you look to Los Angeles. West Coast designers have just about cornered the market when it comes to old-school American sportswear—and for a case in point, look no further than Rosetta Getty. Her brand—not quite a year old—emerged fully formed, producing clothes that were, yes, durable, clean-lined, and in possession of that classic American sense of ease. It made perfect sense that this season, in her first Pre-Fall outing, Getty drew on the work of architect Louis Kahn and the artist Louise Bourgeois, masters who made their most defining work while Cashin, et al. were in their heyday.
From Kahn, Getty took a sense of dimension and monumentality and a playfulness with shape that revealed itself in cutouts and clothes with asymmetric hemlines. Bourgeois, queen of the uncanny sculpture, offered Getty textural richness, witnessed in terrific cashmere corduroy pieces; dense fabrications such as an upholstery-like quilted wool/silk tonal check; and ribbed and hand-knit cashmere sweaters so plush they practically begged to be cuddled, like a baby’s beloved stuffed bear. The collection was at its best when Getty focused more on wearability and less on concept—her trousers, pajama-style or cropped and slouchy, were great, for instance, as were the Japanese cotton layering pieces and a sharp, short-sleeve jumpsuit with a long zip in the front. But the front-back variation in length came off mannered in some looks, and other items, like a backless, bib-style coat, seemed to have no real purpose at all. In general, though, there was plenty here for a sophisticated woman to choose from, and lots of pieces, like the bias-cut dresses and extra-long scarf-neck tops, had a welcome seasonless appeal.