On the face of it, Narciso Rodriguez was in a rather minimal mood for spring/summer 2014.
That applied as much to the clean silhouettes seen in his collection at New York Fashion Week as it did to the scant hem lengths seen throughout. The lines were certainly chic and stark, but, Rodriguez says, don’t be deceived by the apparent effortlessness of it all.
“I love the idea of purity but not so much simplicity,” the New Yorker confesses. “Things can look clean and simple, but there needs to be a great deal of thought behind it before it can be precise.”
If not simple, the designer’s palette was certainly restrained: black, cream and white dominated, often used to graphic effect as on leather trimmed jackets and two-tone cropped tops. The colour discipline shown elsewhere ensured the intermittent emergence of dusty pink, tangy lemon and tangerine made their presence felt.
While he contained his shapes and colours, texturally Rodruiguez let himself go a little, peppering the collection with brocade paneling, fringing and laser cut detailing that helped bring an added dimension to the otherwise pared-back silhouettes.
Clearly, experimenting with fabrication and exploring the potential of textiles is something close to Rodriguez’s heart. And as an ambassador for The Woolmark Company’s Merino Wool. No Finer FeelingTM fibre advocacy campaign, Rodriguez is a fierce advocate for the use of Merino wool in the industry.
“I find working with a very compact, dense wool or crepe wool or lightweight wool that can act as a jersey, it’s an exciting challenge for me each season,” he says. “Because I’ve worked with these materials for so many years I’m always looking to them to inspire me in new ways and to do new things with them.”
For the New York based designer, the superiority of the finished collections is very much dependent on the raw materials and craftsmanship of the textiles he uses.
“I’m such a stickler for the quality of the fabric and where the fabric comes from,” Rodriguez says. “I can tell the difference between weavers and what type of yarns they’re using because for me it starts there.”