Once mainly known as the designer of the racy Baby Phat collection that pioneered high-end women's urban wear with raucous runway shows in the early 2000s, Kimora Lee Simmons is now considerably more sedate in her fashion point of view.
Her namesake line, which she showed at the Bowery Hotel as she returned to New York Fashion Week after a long absence, focuses on wearable everyday styles in strong, vivid colors.
Simmons said she was inspired by travels to Morocco for her spring/summer 2018 collection, with bold shades of desert pink, electric blue, sunrise orange, magenta, and medallion green. Many of the body-hugging looks are unadorned, although Simmons at times mixes in touches like shoulder-baring construction, frayed edges, and trims of basket weave silk, multicolored tweed, fringed stripes, embellished eyelet or texture lace.
The presentation, in which a constantly rotating number of models stood on risers against a brick wall in the minimal styles, was much calmer than Simmons' Baby Phat days. Back then, large crowds filled venues and waited way past the announced start time to watch such models as Lil' Kim hit the runway in a cropped tank, seqined bikini bottom, fur coat, and a massive diamond cross chain.
Simmon' hip hop-influenced collection, featuring oversized logos, faux furs, and embroidered denim, eventually ran its course as she moved on to the more tailored look she now champions.
One thing hasn't changed: Simmons' penchant for tardiness. Breezing in late to her own presentation, Simmons hugged her 17-year-old daughter, Ming Lee Simmons, who was making her fashion week debut as a model in several looks, including a bright blue sequined mini-dress covered in ombré ostrich feathers. Simmons' schedule was running so far behind that a promised interview had to be canceled as this writer had other fashion shows to attend.
Simmons and her children, Ming, Aoki and Kenzo, had recently returned from Houston, where they surveyed some of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey and worked in a partnership with The Unmentionables, a non-profit organization that provides undergarments and personal hygiene items to displaced people worldwide, to distribute necessities. Simmons donated $25,000 to support The Unmentionables' efforts post-Harvey.
In Houston, the Kimora Lee Simmons collection is available at Elizabeth Anthony.