Araks Spring 2011: Dutch Farm Girls at First Light

Araks' Spring 2011 collection featured dresses and separates inspired by the Dutch farmer—but thoroughly modernized by the designer's singular vision.

Nods to the traditional country aesthetic of the Dutch farmer, underscored by a runway lined with apple-and-berry bouquets and weathered fruit crates, could be found in the collection's floor-skimming skirts, its buttoned-up, sparely tailored, pinafore dresses, as well as its sweet, peter-pan collar blouses.

"I started with the Dutch farmers of the early 20th century, and how they dressed...even as farmers, they wore little bustles under their skirts and mixed stripes and florals," said Araks.

However, it was in their execution--so distinctly Araks--that they came alive as something fresh for the new season. A sheer navy day dress was styled with a neon-yellow bra just barely visible beneath, while those supremely conservative, almost heavy skirts swished around the floorboards with rich bursts of contrasting fabric overflowing from beneath. Antique-quality florals were gently juxtaposed against one another, while a sheer panel curving just below the bra-line of one top in particular quickly put any thoughts of the collection being overly prim to rest.

And while the wares were distinctly Araks in aesthetic, the designer opted to push her boundaries when it came to color: "I like to do something I'm afraid of, so I chose red. I've never done red before." The red she spoke of, a muted poppy hue featured on a two-tone knee-skimming dress and a pair of slim trousers, was no less a triumph than the rest of the collection.

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