A new line from Imitation of Christ comes down to earth. By Pam Liou
kasia_portraitImitation of Christ began as actor-bon-vivant Tara Subkoff's clever reworking of vintage materials to create pieces as elegant as they were irreverent. This, in addition to IOC's daring presentations (ie: glass viewing room, anyone?) threw down the gauntlet to a fashion world that was quick to write off the "designer" as hip for the sake of being hip.
Yet, the label—along with the mystique—prevailed, and now with fresh direction from designer Kasia Bilinski, its new diffusion label, Imitation, has a shot at infusing the fantasy with some streamlined sophistication. Bilinski, who has previously clocked in time with TSE cashmere, Richard Chai, Naum, and ThreeAsFour, is drawing from the initial creative heritage of the brand, but with Imitation, she's steering it in a decidedly more wearable direction.
Along with less startling price points, "Imitation is more stripped back and sensual," says Balinksi. "It also focuses on the design and construction of each garment, rather than artifice." The result is a collection of irresistible staples made from premium merino wool, Italian silks, and cashmere. Pieces are thoughtfully and sometimes intricately draped, implementing French seams wherever possible, and the result of this extra attention to detail is a feminine simplicity that is never overwrought. This spring, that translates to easy-to-wear pieces like a super versatile washed-silk drawstring dress and an ultra-fine double-layered skirt. And for fall, the lightness continues but in more intense shades with a tough but elegant cropped biker blazer, a diaphanous paneled slip-dress, and a trim double-lapelled vest, all of which can be layered or worn separately.
Imitation's fall/winter 2008 collection, Top, designer Kasia Bilinski
It seems, Imitation's greatest strength lies in its ability to balance elements that seem mutually exclusive—the clothes are ethereal as they are versatile, basic as they are avant-garde—but always all their own, and never an imitation.
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Portrait by Mark Borthwick
A new line from Imitation of Christ comes down to earth.

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