KAREN WALKER S/S 2010 - ' Perfect Day'

This week in New York, as expected, Karen Walker has shown a collection ( S/S 2011 ) based on the makings of a weirdo. What wasn't expected ( as it never is ) is the way she translated these makings into, well, making things. For this collection, she has evoked the vision of legendary photographer William Eggleston, a man who became famous in the 60s for daring to to use colour - lots of colour - in arthouse photography . Using subjects as mundane as road signs and orange towelling, misty windows and muddy water , he had a gift, like Walker, for turning the ordinary into the truly extraordinary.


The elements of Eggleston's work that Walker has been taken by, and gives back to us in ' Perfect Day ' include the notions of " an idyllic mood with a disturbing undertone" , " colour on colour on confident colour" , and  "mismatching florals " . Walker has used key prints including busy blue laundry pegs , and fawn coloured sparrows against ecru, as well as block colour in odd pairs - camel with orange, canary yellow with marle grey . Each of these seemingly singular ideas will stand strong on its own but the way Walker has knocked their heads together makes for a season that feels crisp, rich and truly new.


The theme of girl meets boy and wears his clothes is no longer a stand- out feature of good fashion , it is one of the building blocks - Walker was a pioneer, and once again produces a mix of the delicate and the dramatic that is also downright wearable; a straight bodied sky blue parka features a sharp little collar and - wait for it - row apon row of ruffles.There is always a piece that says ' I look like a dream, but i'm not a dreamer' ; like this season's pastel , floating tunics . We have the wear- it -on -friday night -and -possibly- still -be- wearing- it -on- sunday basics like the upside down New York tee ... and the piece that you'll want to get married in ( or, let's be honest, be wearing when you sign the divorce) , like the sharp as hell mustard cropped pant .

As always, Walker's collection will be complimented by two ranges of jewelry - little slices of the big idea - Perfect Day sees enamel daisies and bunnies on long gold chains that put hokey and elegant on the same page. The collection also featured giant ruffled purses on long chains and thin, bow-waisted belts that are stand out features in their own right.

Walker's eye, when combined with that of stylist Heathermary Jackson, provides a kind of sharp yet skewed vision that has become the hard to pin down trademark of Karen Walker's collections and is able to tick boxes as diverse as easy daywear, grown up chic and have-it-forever classic. Something for everyone - it's not as easy as it looks, but Perfect Day has nailed it perfectly .


In stores February 2011.

by Angela Crane