Cynthia Rowley is a storyteller — both literally (she’s written books) and figuratively, weaving tales in her clothing. This sounds like a lotta hooey, true, until you see the clothes on the runway. The models don’t seem like just . . . well, models, dressed in overpriced getups, but characters from some intriguing play.
Rowley’s collection this season is inspired by mechanics, cobblers and welders, and so when it isn't blue (expect lots of shades like steel, navy and denim), it's blue-collar. Her models look like Rosie the Riveter types out on the town, having dusted off their work duds. Picture leather machinist overalls worn with a flare print top, an oversize shearling engineer coat, or stylish deep brown “baubled” coveralls (with clusters of jewels sewn on in random array).
Along with the retro workmen’s gear are drop-waist dresses with a hint of the 1920s. But the line looks modern, too, thanks to voluminous shapes (leather shell smock tops paired with sexy, bright-toned skirts), inventive prints (woodgrain, kaleidoscope, escargot and a magnified tortoise pattern) and slit or jagged hemlines.