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The fashion hive-mind being what it is, your average editor runs into a lot of recurring references over the course of a season. That's not a bad thing, per se&mdashtrends are trends. It's nice to uncover some common themes amid the chaos. It's also nice, however, to come to a Karen Walker show and be totally gobsmacked. Walker has an absolute genius for seizing on a pop culture obscurity that speaks to the stuff that's in the air, fashion-wise, but does so in its own peculiar accent. This time out, playing with the very-everywhere 1970s vibe, Walker uncorked the British sci-fi series Sapphire and Steel,which starred (pre-Ab Fab) Joanna Lumley as a terribly chic time-traveling detective.
It's safe to assume that a total of zero people in the audience for Walker's show had heard of this series, never mind seen it, but once you knew that was her starting point, a collection that might otherwise have seemed a bit of madness made perfect sense. Of course there was a psychedelic clockface print. Of course there was a Gunne Sax-ish floral dress defaced by black and white stripes. Of course there were ur-'70s shearlings dyed a slick, futuristic shade of sapphire blue. Those shearlings were among the standouts here, as were the tiered mid-calf dresses, which, granted, were most accessible sans graphic stripe.
Walker had a choice selection of skirts, notably a circle skirt done in mottled multicolor jacquard or a squishy lilac neoprene, and the A-line minis featuring an M.C. Escher-esque pattern. She also elaborated a couple of themes she introduced last season, such as her knockout flares, and denim, which was given a ton of play here. A wrap-belted, deep-zipped denim jumpsuit will be a strong seller come fall. Indeed, you kind of wanted to jump into Lumley's time machine and grab one now.