For the first time in seven years, Kenneth Cole displayed the brand’s collection for Fall 2013 in all its edgy glory. With pieces flaring what Vogue called out as an urban warrior style, the runway filled with fur trimmed jackets, shadowing hoods and hats, thick vests, combat boots and many pieces even boasting reflective panels. Styles were heavily layered, creating a protected look with an air of aloof mystery.
With a nod to his time away from the runway and to what had occurred in his absence, the beginning of the show featured a video with taglines like “Yield to Social Netwalking,” and “We don’t care if people love it, we just want them to ‘like’ it”. Models holding laptops and clearly checking cell phone messages as they strode the runway, perhaps responding to the tweets that celebrated them. The Kenneth Cole collection for 2013 was displayed in light of society’s growing attraction to social media and the technology that supports it.
Returning to fully embrace the influence social media has had and will continue to have on all industries, the entire night was in fact a herald to the social media scene. Every tweet, facebook mention and pin were strongly encouraged. In fact for every tweet hashtagged #KCRunway by an @KennethCole follower, the label donated $1 to amfAR. Adding to this generosity, the proceeds from sales of the runway exclusive black python clutch done in collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker was being sold through the show’s livestream. And 100% of the sale was given to the AIDS-research charity, the same one who honored Cole himself at a previous event.
Birds flew against the wall of building sillhouettes and telephone poles in a truly New York-like urban setting, eliciting a sense of dangerous freedom embodied in the striking styles. In sharp contrast to the perky blues and reds representative of the most up-and-coming social media sites, the clothes of that evening were dark. Blacks and greys and other somber neutrals perhaps spoke to the transition of social media from teenage games to adult reality. The hunter greens, deep reds and navy hues that did show up were distinctly suave and appeared more action oriented.
Kenneth Cole’s explosive return to the runway could not have been more favorably met. His appearance on the stage at the end was enthusiastically received and the numerous contributions to charities his label engaged in earned him equal association as philanthropist, not just designer.
By Lindsey K Cook