A Détacherâ??s Childâ??s Play

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Mona Kowalska, the brains behind A Détacher, has consistently made smart, architectural garments that explore form and color. There’s always a welcome sense of whimsy or off-kilter-ness to her clothes, so it was especially fitting that for her Spring/Summer collection, which debuted Friday at Pier 59 Studios, she harnessed the purest form of imagination, refracted through the eyes of childhood. The start of it all, she said during a preview of the collection last week, was “boredom and fantasy. One sort of leads into the other, as opposed to adulthood boredom.”

The locus of that fantasy began with the collection’s central print—a speckled, abstracted pastoral scene topped with clouds—that mutated across the 37-look presentation. “It was this idea of looking and falling into a landscape, falling into the sky,” Kowalska explains. A balance of ultra-fitted and over-sized silhouettes, in close-fitting knits (lean buttoned-up cardigans and pleated skirts threaded with Lurex), easy-breezy skirts and tops, or loose, no-fuss cotton and denim dresses, that hit at the knee and moved away from the body, tapped into the utilitarian aspects of kids dressing for comfort and movement. “Things are either too big or too small when you’re little, so we worked with this idea of volume,” Kowalska elaborates.

The shoes alternated between flat, mobility minded-sandals or round-toed pumps with a bit of a heel—evocative of trying on big-girl options in mom’s closet. Rope details on the neckline of dresses and tank tops added a bit of rustic craftiness, reminiscent of finger games like Cat’s Cradle. With a palette of blues and teals, washed out yellows, rusts, salmons, peaches, and beiges, Kowalska puts forth a veritable Crayola box of upbeat options for spring and summer, translating the exuberance of childhood dreams and dress-up into an accessible line-up of pieces for women with a taste for uniting fun and function.

She sums it up quite aptly: “It’s the idea of a freer and looser way of dressing. As we get older we lose a bit of ourselves. There’s the ‘it bag,’ this and that. Whereas when you’re young, you put your necklace on your head. You trust yourself.”

For more from New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015, click here.