Spring 2011 contemporary quickies: Twinkle by Wenlan and Jonathan Simkhai

Twinkle by Wenlan
For spring, Wenlan Chia was inspired by novelist Haruki Murakami, who's one of my favorite authors--and if you're unfamiliar with his work, it's very surreal, so I didn't quite know what to expect (for example, two of the characters in one of his books are Colonel Sanders and Johnnie Walker). Thankfully, Chia interpreted it loosely, focusing on the awkwardly beautiful heroines of Murakami's books. In an adorable presentation, in which models pretended to read books, play chess, and knit, they showed off Chia's latest round of feminine dresses and separates, this time in black, dusty mauve, and deep sapphire blue. Special details like open-work necklines, cutouts, and exposed zippers retained just enough edge--Wenlan's looks are consistently girly, but always with a quirky-cool edge.

Jonathan Simkhai
In his second-ever Fashion Week presentation, Jonathan Skimkhai rounded up a bunch of reform-school girls, mixing sports-jersey-like tops and varsity cardigans with '50s-inspired dirndl or pencil skirts (some in leather!), pleated shorts, and skinny-slouchy pants. The styling was fantastic, as was the Hall & Oates music playing in the background; but even taken out of the Rizzo-esque context, there were a lot of strong pieces, like the leather bustier dress and the plaid shorts, that one doesn't have to be a bad girl to wear.

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