What are we going to do about Olympia Le-Tan? Her accessories are noncontroversially amazing. Her sensibility is wholly unique, full of kitschy charm. Le-Tan is no dummy, and as this collection reaffirmed, she can cut the hell out of a pair of trousers or a coat. We want designers who make Pepto-pink prints with illustrations of the Joseph Conrad novel Lord Jim. Le-Tan is enjoying herself, plainly, and that’s a good thing for fashion.
But…this sailor-themed collection couldn’t help but give you the feminist spins. There is just something a little unsettling about the way Le-Tan fuses cutesiness and kinkiness—the naïve illustrations of sailors and the exaggerated rope embellishment on the one hand; the rubber body shapers on the other. It’s all very knowing and presented with a big stage wink, but Le-Tan isn’t offering a critique, and this season her sexy-baby thing really did have the unfortunate effect of distracting from the merits of the collection as a whole. And there were a lot of compelling looks here, like a short trenchcoat in that Lord Jim print, or a matched crop top and pair of short shorts in a rope print Le-Tan could have used more. The high-necked print blouses could easily translate beyond the Le-Tan cult, and her lace-up, hand-embroidered belts were a strong new addition to the accessories range. The collection was very, very likeable, in short. Still, it left you with qualms.