One might be forgiven for presuming Kimberly Ovitz drew inspiration for her Fall 2011 collection from her native Los Angeles. It was, after all, a knit-heavy, body-conscious collection with fluorescent accents, towering high above Camilla Skovgaard stiletto sandals.
But the designer told us that, actually, her ideas for this season came from somewhere else – a sad, personal moment that took her south of the equator.
Last year, when a close friend of Ovitz’s passed away in Brazil, she dove into research on the country, focusing on the modernist architect of Oscar Niemeyer. Niemeyer designed the majority of the country's capital, Brasilia, in the 1950s when the country's president conceived it as a unifying, awe-inspiring capital amidst the barren landscape of central Brazil. (He also designed the United Nations headquarters here in New York.)
Ovitz found solace in Niemeyer’s stark white sweeping lines and futuristic vision, which she translated into curved panels of stretch modal and jersey and arching hems. Circular cutaway backs echoed a black ring painted on the gallery floor where models stood, unsmiling, and the hood of a charcoal silk cashmere sweater draped softly like a shroud. Most of the clothing, in stretch performance fabrics, seemed protective of its wearer. But one piece seemed more delicate -- a winter white alpaca sweater with criss-crossed cables. This season, said the designer, the collection brought some light to her sadness.