Runway Review: Houghton FW14/15

Next fall is pure romance and poetry for Houghton fans, balanced with the downtown urban curveball and tongue-in-cheek touches that keep it consistently modern. This season’s “Rose Collection”—named after the rose jacquard fabric and designer Katharine Polk’s middle name—is, as always, inspired by Houghton’s namesake, Katharine Hepburn. As the models glided serenely down the catwalk, the deafening hip-hop cut through an almost Dickensian romance of a striking and dramatic collection—primarily over sized and unstructured silhouettes, with loose and fluid lines. Polk wanted the Houghton girl to feel “snuggled up but still chic” in trailing floor-length matte wool coats, enveloping snug mini-skirts, front-pleated trousers. Her inky black evening wear also had a Dickensian era vibe, but stripped down and sexed up for today. A cropped tee under a tight satin pinafore dress cut a kooky downtown twist through the overall elegance elsewhere, aided by custom sheepskin and crystal-covered Birkenstocks.

Since Polk wanted to play with “novelty fabrics that were yummy, and made for cuddling up in," varying kinds of mohair echoed fur. Cashmere, leather and suede were tailored with precision to make a neat yet voluminous silhouette. Elsewhere, ivory, smokey grey, rose, camel and black featured in soft, cozy and luxurious textured fabrics—silk chiffon, shimmering organza, lurex devoré and tulle.

“The Houghton look is for cool, strong—but not attention seeking— women," Polk said. "They who dress for themselves, not for men. Sexy is being smart, and feeling comfortable.” I ask who the Dennis the Menace-esque black and ivory stripes on a giant cape/coat hybrid was imagined for: “The Houghton girl likes to have fun and doesn’t care what people think," Polk said. The other highlight was recurring leg of mutton sleeves inspired by elephant ears—tasteful and simultaneously theatrical—plunging us all in a fantasy far, far away from today’s snowy streets.

Photography by Andrew Boyle

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