Shaping Up

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By Ranjani Gopalarathinam
Kit Willow has come a long way from her first collection of bedazzled lingerie. Her ideas expand exponentially like so many of the folds and tucks in her creations to fill boutiques in New York, Australia, London, Los Angeles, and Dubai. Though inwardly the structure of each piece may be as rigid as a Hussein Chalayan number, Willow differs in its feminine, flattering execution. Fabric is folded, twisted, and buttoned together to create shape and volume.
Each dress is as unique as a snowflake, crystallizing onto a woman's curves. Willow uses minor embellishments such as starburst-shaped piping and curved seams to draw the gaze over the body, a departure from her previous collections' use of metal and glass decoration. Fabrics defy categorization through an oriental approach to eveningwear, such as cotton gauze and oplin in fitted darted jackets and coatdresses. Also of note is Willow's color palette for fall, which is bright and saturated at times, including plum and lime green, a refreshing change from the season's trend.
"Willow has matured with her second collection," says a spokesperson for Elizabeth Charles, the Meatpacking District boutique focused on Australian designers in New York. "She's using richer fabrics, colors, and textures for fall, which fits a New York customer perfectly."
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Willow is available in New York at Cantaloup (1036 Lexington Avenue, 212-249-3566) and in Los Angeles at Vionnet (158 North Robertson Boulevard, 310-289-9202) and Bleu ( 454 s la Brea, 323-939-2228); www.willowltd.com.
Australian designer Kit Willow finds just the right balance between hard and soft with her femme-friendly dresses, jackets, and eveningwear.
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