NEW YORK – For Singapore fashion label Raoul presenting a collection at New York Fashion Week is well worth the effort and cost; Raoul is fast becoming an Asian label to watch with its stand-alone stores and “corners” in major department stores like Neiman Marcus and Selfridges.
For Spring Summer 2014, designer Odile Benjamin has expanded on her “feel” for the 1960s with a collection of sharp, modern shapes enlivened by strong neon colour, leather, cut-outs and a touch of the three-dimensional embroidery that the brand has been showing for the last few seasons.
Mixing monochrome with neon orange, turquoise blue, muted yellow and grey, the simple shapes of the 60s-style shifts, pencil and A-line skirts and swing jackets stood out; they are wearable – whether in silk or leather – and on-trend by “standing out from the body”, the short length of the skirts runs against the grain of mid-calf or longer seen on many New York runways, but balances the wider shape nicely.
Looks from Raoul Spring Summer 2014 presentation at New York Fashion Week. All images: Onin Lorente from Style Anywhere
Adding a more “street” touch to the collection are pieces like a printed silk “sweatsuit” of pullover and track pants in a geometric print; a zip-front leather top and neoprene-like leather separates with large oval cut-outs that are an expansion of the smaller “perforated” leathers the brand has shown previously.
There were a few references to Raoul’s previous collections that while probably very retail-friendly, stood out as being not quite a part of the new collection; a brocade “skater” dress and a shift dress in two-tone leather with addition 3D flower embroidery are more reminiscent of Raoul SS13.
Great summer shoes from Raoul Spring Summer 2014. Image: Onin Lorente from Style Anywhere
However, the Raoul SS14 shoes were a particular delight this season; bang-on-trend with transparency and micro straps over chunky, low heels or more refined thin heels, the shoes are super fun for summer and great for Singapore’s hot – and wet – weather.
Presented at the Highline Stages in a large, industrial space, the Raoul Spring Summer 2014 collection had a futuristic feel; the slick shapes and bright colours appeared alien in the old, brick building.
This super modernism is a developing calling card for designer Odile; rather than directly interpreting the early 1960s, the addition of technical fabric treatments and the updating of shapes is good direction for the brand as a whole. It seems that Raoul is developing a “voice” – 60s shapes via 70s colours with a touch of 00s streetwear – and it will be interesting to see how this concept develops over future collections.
Raoul boutiques are located at Paragon Shopping Centre and Marina Bay Sands; to shop online, go to www.raoul.com. You can follow the brand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/raoulfashion on Twitter at @RAOULFASHION and on Instagram at @raoulfashion.