THEO continues to search for its brand identity – Washington Square News

Is it meant to be subversive minimalism or nerdy ZARA glam?

THEO’s digital presentation of its Fall/Winter 2022 collection, “_Crystalline_”, was confusing. THEOled by designer Theo Dekan, is a Kyiv-based fashion brand that clears limits and “offers a bold take on traditional fashion codes” by overturning the idea that minimalism is boring. But her collection this season was peppered with acid green and brown suit sets alongside sheer blue and pink sequined dresses whose inclusion only showed that THEO has lost its aesthetic cohesion.

At first I thought the show was unreasonably simple. Compared to past shows — which were held in an empty parking lot and a wintry wonderland — this season’s track was just a boring stone floor with a black background. It was far too simple.

However, the simple backdrop put the clothes in the spotlight. Masculine looks that featured burnt oranges and pastel buttery yellows brought the collection to life. THEO reaffirmed his status as a master of minimalism with the brand’s must-have silhouettes that have appeared in previous seasons, like his black and white leather tracksuits and black sequined tailored suits paired with a black mesh turtleneck. The most ravishing look of all was a burnt orange trench coat whose lapels featured a cape-like construction with fisherman cord accents, embodying the futuristic essence of THEO.

Womenswear, however, overcompensated with its oversized silhouettes in heather grays and creams with a mix of rainbows, which looked interesting at first but soon became repetitive and bland. While the show aimed to address the obsession with comfort and leisure triggered by the pandemic, the maxi dress silhouette was simply frumpish and unflattering. The same was true for the long velvet bow-tie dresses which gave the false impression that the show was a spring/summer collection. There were looks that matched the craftsmanship of menswear. A brown croc leather trench coat with white ties tied at the shoulders was well presented. However, compared to its sister look – a matching top and bottom set – it just looked frumpy and tacky.

Sunglasses and statement jewelry were the redeeming qualities of the show. Ski visors and hardware store goggles, reminiscent of 2000s Dior John Galliano and contemporary Balenciaga butterfly peak sunglasses, raised maxi down jackets and sleek scuba pieces. Crystalline Y-shaped necklaces were one of the show’s title references, with KiraKira sequins superimposed on the models’ faces. These gestures seemed forced and awkward and were not enough to maintain a non-existent thematic line for the collection.

THEO is in the midst of an identity crisis. With the success of its minimalist presentations from seasons past, there should be no reason to change. Pushing the boundaries only comes naturally to designers, but overly strong colors and patterns that try to counteract simplistic black and white only undermine the brand’s reputation. Even with this diamond in the raw collection, THEO’s premise and establishment of ideals of divergent experimentation is undoubtedly solid. Given his past success and the appealing color aspects of this show, THEO has the potential to regain the voice he once had.

Contact Victoria Maung at [email protected]

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