Before the lights came up on Christian Cota’s Fall 2011 show, sounds of wind, chanting, and chimes piped through Lincoln Center’s studio, setting the stage for a collection inspired by mountain explorers.
The looks seemed to fall into two categories: On one hand were strong-shouldered styles that reminded us of the Samurai section at the Met: robe-like coats rendered in black and grey cashmere, wool, and leather, with accents of metallic gold jacquard and leather in “holy Tibetan red.” Patterns resembling ikats and leopard spots added texture, and leather harnesses crossed behind models’ backs, anchoring jackets (and a few lighter silk styles) to the body. One was even fastened with a fancy carabiner.
If these styles channeled Eastern mountain warriors, then perhaps the other half of the collection reflected the natural feeling of the mountains themselves. We loved soft taupe and grey skirts and trousers in striped wool ombrés, and sumptuous hooded sweaters and coats that flounced with feathery fox fur collars and cuffs as the models marched.
Standout pieces combined aspects of the gentler shapes and color with eastern warrior influence – to varying results. A structured shirt-dress in wool plaid, with one side swathed in heather jersey felt forced. But a warm grey soft-shouldered coat, loosely fastened with a wide distressed leather harness looked fit for the mountains of heaven.