story by Lisa Radano
photos by Bonnie Rodríguez
Looking all of seventeen in a navy blazer, and blessed with the polite gentility of his southern upbringing, the Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Wes Gordon greeted each and every one of his women clients as if they were guests at his front door. I’m very certain he knows how to foxtrot. But clearly, what he’s best at is designing stunningly lovely clothes for those refined and privileged ladies. In a presentation reminiscent of the costume shows at the Metropolitan Museum, models stood still as mannequins on stark white platforms framed by a gauzy proscenium. Occasionally, owing to their being human and possibly in need of refreshment, they were fed little candies, which they nibbled discreetly, or they were brought water, which they sipped pristinely through bendy straws.
Kate Bush played as we filed by the array of special occasion looks. Upon later reflection I realized I had seen actual skirts, pants, knee and floor length dresses, and jackets. But when faced with the entire collection all at once, it was the broad-spectrum power of the work that was felt. When asked what had been the inspiration for Spring 2013, Mr. Gordon replied, “fall.” He went on to explain, “I love fall, so for me the challenge is, ‘how can I love spring as much as fall?’” Though he began with a mint green color, used both in solids and prints, he added and subtracted colors along the way, ever deepening to crimson and eventually black. The final effect was warm weather clothing with “a darker intention.” The clothes had mostly lean silhouettes, especially the pants that were either cigarette or eye-catching sinewy flares. Lots of pencil skirts and dresses cut on the bias, but then there were both with fuller skirts as well with jackets and cropped corsets lending definition to these. The fabrics were perhaps the most arresting aspect of the collection; a rich crushed satin in crimson, raffia with it’s charming fringe, ink foil leather, ornate lace, silk painted with a swan motif, burnout velvet, eyelash silk chiffon and embroideries that weaved in feathers and Swarovski crystals – all gave complexity to the flattering and unfussy garments. Hal Rubenstein, of Instyle magazine, chatting with colleagues about Mr. Gordon’s glowing creativity and courtesy said simply, “yeah, he’s a good kid.”