Karen Walker Covers Her Head With Shades of Coco

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Published February 19, 2009

Karen Walker’s Fall/Winter 2009 collection was titled ominously “She’s Cracked,” but while a new tension ran through the New Zealand designer’s easy, understated basics, her bold, clean accessories were still the picture of composure. If Coco Chanel had lived in another century—and in another hemisphere—she might just have found a kindred spirit (or direct competition) in Karen Walker. This time around, Karen’s own trademark hats and sunglasses referenced the vivid hues and shapes of Parisian 1930s haberdashery. With circular and geometric shades all the rage again, Karen’s famed frames are still are bigger, rounder, and more graphic than anyone else’s. Then there were her bucket hats: dramatic, boldly hued, and made of shearling, they were a little quirky Kiwi, a lot vintage Chanel. Paired with the eye-popping shades and even ironic, “pearl necklace” screenprinted tees, Karen’s idol worship was both cheekily transparent. I should Coco, indeed.