Children, the word for today is “bold.” Bold colors, bold patterns, bold silhouettes. Like her personality, Kenley’s designs are loud and brash. You know what’s not the word for today? What never should have been the word for Kenley? “Retro.” Looking over her entire output for the season, we can’t seem to find many examples that could rightfully be called retro. Sure, it’s a flavor in her work (4,6,7,9) but it’s not the overriding aesthetic.
Much like Laura Bennett in season 3 (and believe us, that’ll be the last time we compare the two), Kenley’s own personal style overwhelmed whatever she was putting down the runway. Kenley dresses retro but she doesn’t always design retro. In other words, people were looking at what she was wearing and not what she was designing.
No, the true through-line for her work is silhouette. More than any other designer this season – even Korto, who’s “known” for it – Kenley played around with silhouettes. Whether it was an unusual skirt (1,3,6,8,11) or collar (2, 5) or even sleeves (8), Kenley likes to play around with and play off of the female form. It doesn’t always work but we particularly like her Gristedes dress (1) and her “green” dress (2). In fact, looking over this collection, we’re surprised to admit how much of it we liked. She seemed to get weaker as the competition progressed but that’s not all that unusual.
Color-wise, she clearly likes to work with bold ones, particularly pinks and purples. As for prints, we’ve gone on the record as saying that we don’t like the ones she picks and this collection isn’t doing anything to change our mind. Certainly, the vibrant, ’80s-inspired prints are back in style but that doesn’t mean that she did a good job of picking the right ones.
So, looking at all this, what can you expect from her Bryant Park collection? Bold silhouettes, bold prints, pinks and purples and a slightly retro vibe. We’ll say one thing for her: she’s consistent.
[Photos: Barbara Nitke/Bravo]