Runway News

Suno Spring 2014: Luxe African-Inspired Glamour

images: imaxtree

images: imaxtree

When a label debuts with an extremely distinct point of view, it's often accompanied with some reasonable doubt. Yes, it's amazing, but how long can they keep it up without the schtick going stale? Max Osterweis, in collaboration with Erin Beatty, launched Suno in 2008 with a focus on utilizing textiles from Kenya. The Suno aesthetic was recognizable at once and a palpably exciting debut, and it's been exciting to watch as the designing duo reexamine and reinvent their aesthetic, staying true to their root look while also branching out. That said, the Suno look, however it evolves, will always be compared to that first exciting collection—is every new piece a step forward or a step back?

At first blush, this collection felt like a step… somewhere for Suno. Though they've been pivoting away from all-African and all-print, it still feels weird not to have a heavy dose of it. The first third of the collection was centered around bright colors—crisp white (paired with a zoomed-in blue floral) and hot red-orange (in big, regal plaid with buttery metallic gold).

But then an expected Suno look and feel ushers in the next movement of the collection: wide-lapel tunics with vertical stripes, dotted with red and turquoise zaftig zebras. From there you have looks that almost felt like self-parody: wide-brimmed stout safari hats topping black-and-white jumpsuits, khaki cargo culottes and a structured khaki jacket. It's an obvious direction, but broken apart (and without collection context) there is real potential and appeal.

From there, Suno hits the sweet spot and the collection's triumphant stride: it's all down a beautiful hill of still jacquard florals, abstract florals atop cut-out dresses and stiff, thrilling (read: voluminous) silhouettes. The major high point is a pattern that happily (and smartly, as it's been Instagrammed to death by those with backstage access) finds its way across pieces: a loose checkered basketweave dotted with gems on a cream background. Splayed across basic dresses, boxy button-downs and loose bottoms, it's Suno's best achievement.

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