NEW YORK — Known for his socially-conscious advertising, Kenneth Cole always strives to stand out from the fashion pack. Before unveiling his fall collection, he delved into the idea of how we edit our lives through social media with a witty video starring Alan Cumming and Rachel Dratch as friends who constantly try to one up each other through texts, Twitter and Instagram.
"Of course, designers know all about creating personas — what else are fashionable clothes than a way of projecting an image of who we are, or would like to be, and what we think and where our cultural or urban-tribal images lie," Cole said in his program notes.
"What else are fashionable clothes than a way of projecting an image of who we are or would like to be?"
"Urban gypsy" is the persona Cole has developed for fall. It's a look that aims to be nonchalantly hip, with a mix of layers, textures and fabrics, ranging from coats to calf-hair shorts, women in pinstripe suits and men in baggy leather shorts — all topped with Pharrell-sized hats. Colors of black, gray and white predominate, with a touch of chili red to spice things up.
Cole's accessories shine, which is not surprising, since that's where he's made his fortune. Footwear for women ranges from lace-up to-the-knee combat boots to leather ankle-strap booties with a snakeskin heel; for men, boots come in a variety of styles, from lace-up velcro to double zipped with lug soles. A snakeskin cell phone case can serve as a women's necklace while leather-and-calf-hair backpacks make a men's fashion statement, along with fingerless gloves for both sexes.
The look skews young — probably too youthful for Cole's middle-age celebrity front-row friends, including Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Strahan and Chris Cuomo, all of whom seemed bemused to be at a fashion show but excited to be there nevertheless. Bon Jovi, who graciously posed for selfies with admirers, admitted, "I don't go to fashion shows, so this in fun."
Kenneth Cole always kicks off his fashion show with an amusing video with a message. Here's the most recent one: