Sunday’s Double Header: Rick Owens, All Saints, Pennyblack and The Gap

In the great tradition of Sunday evenings, I am here with a double header! Tonight I have not one, but two of my all time dream fashion collaborations.  The first is a marriage made in sinister heaven– think Fleet Street, Jack the Ripper or Sweeney Todd, but with whispers of dark romance.  Precisely, Rick Owens for All Saints.

Rick Owens started his label in 1994 and first gained significant traction with his distressed leather jackets (a favorite among the elite fashion crowd including Kate Moss).  Describing his design ethos, Owens says he takes the direct route. “I try to make clothes that are sweet but kind of creepy. It’s about giving everything I make a worn, softened feeling. It’s about an elegance being tinged with a bit of the barbaric, the sloppiness of something dragging and the luxury of not caring”. Clearly, he knows exactly how to take inspiration and weave the tread through to execution. Here is a selection of runway looks from Rick F/W 2011:

*All photos above courtesy of Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

It seems as though All Saints, a British brand founded in Spitalfields (Jack the Ripper’s actual stomping grounds- how appropriate is that?) is striving for a similar brand personality by embracing an “artfully calibrated creepiness coupled with the brooding aesthetic embraced by the adherents of steampunk, the movement, the lifestyle — the brand” according to Paul McAdam, the chief executive of All Saints North America.  The time is also right for a collaboration as All Saints is currently experiencing a major growth spurt here in the United States, signaled by its recently opened store in Soho, NYC and its revamped website enabled with e-commerce for the U.S. audience (adios FedEx bills from the UK!) Also, as the celebrity contingent faithful to All Saints continues to grow (and their every step covered in the weeklies), we can expect an ever increasing customer demand.

Halle Berry apparently loves her All Saints distressed leather jacket.

Here are a few highlights from All Saints Fall/Winter Lookbook:

Above photos courtesy of All Saints

I have to say, I am totally crushing on the rolled pants for men.  Something tells me that Rick could use a big cash infusion (otherwise known as a collaboration) and what a coup for All Saints to get the master of all grunge and darkness to bring a little more light to the brand.

Pennyblack for The Gap

What a world we would be living in if we could create a true collaboration between one of the America’s favorite brands and one of Italy’s.  Pennyblack, founded in the late 1970’s has become the go to retailer among Italian women who seek easy-to-wear, high quality style that provides unique detailing and above all else, value.  With aggressive expansion plans (how new and original, a retailer trying to race its way in to Asia…..), the company would be wise to search out a North American partner that boasts a  well- developed and loyal consumer base with whom it can test market its numerous lines.  If you aren’t familiar with Pennyblack, I suggest you take the intro I am about to give you:

Photo courtesy of Pennyblack

One of the best and most unique attributes of Pennyblack is the fact that it features its young and diverse design team as stylists, each hosting their own catalog in the online look book.  As a customer, you get to see the face, style and personality of the designer responsible for the outfit you so crave.

Photo courtesy of Pennyblack

Honestly, The Gap could really use a bit of this magic.  I love Patrick Robinson as much as the next girl (well maybe not as much as that one girl over at Vogue), and I agree with his decision to take the brand back to the basics that once made it so famous.  But seriously.. The Gap is boooorrriiinnng.. The most exciting (and maybe only) design moment was the collaboration with Pierre Hardy on a limited collection of footwear for Fall 2010.

Save those great platform booties?  Not too much inspiring me to take out my wallet and plop down cash.    For example, below is dress from the Spring look book and within two seconds I can guarantee you this is going to fit like an awful bubble skirt  and will lead to the inevitable question of  “is she pregnant or did she just eat too much?”  So yes, it will be on the markdown rack by next Tuesday if you like those debating stares on the train:

Photos courtesy of The Gap

Yeah, not cute. But, if you were to combine The Gap’s design emphasis on basic and classic American styling and combine Pennyblack’s color palette and attention to detail (let’s be honest, details are what make something special and unforgettable), there could be a serious winning combination.   Don’t you agree?


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