Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall ’13: KAUFMANFRANCO, The Spy Who Loved Me

February 11, 2013 • Fashion Blog, Fashion Shows, New York Fashion Week Fall '13

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Summary: I actually met designers Ken Kaufman and Isaac Franco when they had just launched their KAUFMANFRANCO line. I was working in the couture department (for a nano-second) at Neiman’s Michigan Avenue store back in 2005 when they hosted a trunk show. I instantly fell insanely in love with their collection. At that time they were showing their Spring collection and one could literally wear their items inside-out as the seaming was not only perfect, but artful. I loved the tough-girl chic vibe of their impeccably made clothes. So ever since then I have had a soft spot in my heart for this brand, but kept wondering why they were not more of a household name. Their work has been completely undervalued. Until now.

I really wanted to see KAUFMANFRANCO’s first show at Lincoln Center (since my days at Neimans I have only seen it since in their showroom), but was afraid I would miss it trying to get back from Donna Karan’s show in Chelsea. Luckily, Mary Alice Stephenson blessedly offered me a ride back to Lincoln Center, so we both made it. I know I love a show when I get the chills and don’t want it to end. In this case, I had the chills from the first look. The tough vibe is still there, but this collection was based on spies and menagerie. Coats were aptly named Interrogator, Patrolman and Protector. And was there a lot of fur! I never really thought of KAUFMANFRANCO for fur, but I sure do now! I loved the coats that were combined fur and leather. In fact, when the onyx circular tattoo fur and leather column coat came down the runway, I said under my breath “I will own that.” Add to that one of the many pairs of drool-worthy leather pants and I will die happy.

However, the collection of dresses and gowns can not be ignored either. The ombré gunmetal sequined dress (actually called smoke sequin charred shift degrade) drew oohs and ahhs from the audience and had a sixties-mod vibe about it like the ‘Spy Who Shagged Me” followed directly by a black mohair coat with the same sequin shatters. The duo is now known for dressing some celebrities (and will soon be known for redesigning uniforms for American Airlines) so the gowns were highly anticipated and they didn’t disappoint. One of my favorites was the martini olive (so it had me at the color) silk crepe plunging column which I’m sure will be on an A-list celebrity soon.

I was truly sad when the show was over. It was one of my favorites of this Fashion Week and I certainly hope we see more of KAUFMANFRANCO at Lincoln Center. And judging by what I overheard walking out, others would like to see them back too.

Colors: camel, rye, cornichon, cocoa, emerald, jade, martini olive, slate, smoke, silver, meteorite, onyx

Fabrics & Textures: chiffon, mohair, python, velvet, tech stretch, silk crepe, lycra silk wool, shearling, leather, weathered leather, distressed calf, mink, silver fox, sequins, crystals

Key Looks: Onyx leather jogger pants; onyx distressed calf interrogator trench; onyx silk/nylon patrolman parker coat; camel glazed felt bomber jacket with mink sleeve and onyx nappa stretch leather biker pants; onyx circular tattoo fur and leather column coat (I will own this); onyx nappa black mink driver coat (black leather lined in mink) with a onyx nappa front sleeveless jacket; cornichon waxed patrolman parker; ; martini olivesilk crepe plunging column gown; onyx plonge fox bordered pea (my second favorite coat); smoke sequin charred shift degrade.

– Lauren Dimet Waters

Photos: WWD

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