In true Karen Walker style her latest resort collection again takes us all by surprise and draws inspiration from something meaningful and powerful.
The poetry of Federico García Lorca singing in their hearts and adorning their faces, Karen Walker’s Mujer are freedom fighters at the vanguard in her new collection.
As a tribute to the revolutionist, artist John Reynolds (Arts Foundation Laureate, two-time Walters Prize nominee and Sydney Biennale headliner) has interpreted García Lorca’s motifs across the faces of Karen’s Mujer.
Hemingway made it clear that the Spanish Revolution was “no time for girls”, but there are no girls here, just strong, capable women for whom the bell tolls and for whom life demands practicalities like denim and cotton drill, the softness of peasant voiles and occasionally the illicit luxury of silk. The colours brandished are military tones of sandy khaki, rich, sour tobacco and pure white set against the saturated navy blues, bleached denims and brilliant blood-orange of the International Brigade. Prints are whimsical wild bouquets, tight geometric lozenges and a modernist take on camouflage.
Voluminous men’s shirtsleeves are lashed in at the elbows and pockets are oversized. Dinner suiting ruffles are deliberately off-kilter, shirting pintucks and shirring on off-the-shoulder necklines reference the Siberian influence. There’s looseness in the frayed selvedge on denim and contrast stitching appears on cotton drill dresses, jackets and trousers. Proportions are fluid and waists emphatically cinched with wide belts. Because there is no time to hesitate when you are a rebel on the run.