My first clue came when the Promenade at Bryant Park was filled with a blaring British hipster techno mix that I could have sworn was Franz Ferdinand. As the models walked the runway in alternating guy-girl looks, the persistent use of bowler hats, leather riding boots, equestrian plumed riding hats, tailored coats and trousers, and many other tropes made me think constantly of polo players hailing from rainy aristocratic Great Britain. And of course the frequent use of plaid struck me as very Scottish.
Monarchy Collection designer Eric Kim is well-known for deriving inspiration from architecture and construction. For Fall 2009 he combined this with a very earthy and muted palette of ivory, olive, charcoal, dirt brown, taupe, and camel to create some really interesting pieces such as this high-collared taupe shawl-like trenchcoat pictured above. The coats were definitely the key items of most of the looks, ranging from a floor-length tan wool peacoat to an olive melton multi-zip tailcoat. There was everything from black bomber jackets to taupe draped tie-front shawls. The underclothing tended to be far more repetitive, alternating between blouses and hooded undershirts for tops or high-waisted jeans and leggings. Both girls and guys sported a lot of big, flat-soled black leather riding boots. There were lots of bowler hats for the guys and felt caps with plumed pom-poms for the girls.
I always thought of Monarchy Collection as a very denim and leather all-American contemperory Diesel-like brand with some influence from the London UK Punk scene. The Fall 2009 collection featured very little of the graphic-tees look that Monarchy is known for a lot more of the London UK elite scene that made for a much more unexpected and focused point-of-view and aesthetic. Still, the kinds of celebrities who wear Monarchy Collection include Ashton Kutcher, Tyrese, Chingy, Sean Paul, Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson, Natasha Hendsridge, 50 Cent, Usher, Ludacris, Nick Lachey, Tommy Lee, Jeremy Piven, Adrien Grenier, Kelly Hu, Michelle Trachtenburg, and many others who I am having a hard time picturing with a polo player’s closet.
So my question is: Was the British thing simply an unusual stylistic choice made by a designer who is all about creating an American brand, or is it supposed to pun on the name “Monarchy” Collection seeing that England is the only monarchy left standing within a first-world democratic nation. There seems to be a nostalgia about this old and distinctly British sensibility regarding regal dress that Eric Kim is playing with, and I have to say I’m amused.
Also, I realize I’ve only included pictures of female pieces, but there was a lot of mens-wear as well that I’ll feature a few thumbnails here:
Photography by David Tsang Hou.
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