Thursday, March 31, 2011

flowing...with Brochu Walker

by frédérik sisa

General rule of thumb: I find clothes look best when they work with the body instead of against it, that is, when they embody an awareness of a person’s body shape. This doesn’t necessarily mean form-fitting or symmetrical, although both are key qualities that play a role in effective design, but does mean that even when working “against” the body a good design is purposeful. As an example of the opposite, I point you to the mania of wearing low-slung pants with exposed underwear . With all due respect to people who find this an appealing expression of style, I’d say it doesn’t work for me because it creates a mismatch between design and function, with the result that it has no tangible connection to the body. It’s like using a pair of scissors to cut tomatoes; you can do it, but you’ll get better results from using a tomato knife.

By way of exemplifying solid, classical design that plays with shape and form in a way that flatters the body and creates organic silhouettes, I give you Brochu Walker. Named after the tag-team of Lisa Brochu and Lauren Walker, who got their start in New York, this relatively new name in fashion is intriguing in its dedication to “effortless, wearable, chic basics” for women who have “outgrown contemporary designs.” Their collections loosely remind me of the direction J. Jill has taken under Michael Leva – a return to elegant, free-spirited simplicity – albeit with less New England and more West Coast, and a solid alliterative splash of street sensibility. I just love the way Lisa and Lauren’s designs work like kung fu, as a mixture of hard and soft, to create striking looks. There’s nothing avant-garde or neon-lit in the design, but when you want to keep it grounded and relaxed, it’s nice to get whispers instead of shouts.

The only reservation I have – and it’s really hard to judge from online pictures and lookbooks – concerns how versatile the designs are for women’s varying body types. The models tend to be rather straight – how would these designs translate to curvy women? Just asking.

To give you a sample of the lovely things Brochu Walker has to offer, I picked out a few of my favourite ensembles. I can’t tell you how much these particular pieces cost, but I can say that Brochu Walker flirts with boutique prices. At saks.com, you’ll find cardigans in cardigans in the range of $365 and dresses going from $185 to $385.

Click on the images to embiggen.

From the Spring/Summer 2011 collection:




From the Summer Sun 2011 collection:



From the Fall/Winter 2011 collection:






There you go. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Note: Images borrowed from the Brochu Walker website, with thanks to the PR sirens at Siren Public Relations, Jasmine Dai and Mandi Meng.

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