Looks from Karen Walker’s Bad Apple collection. Images supplied.
Karen Walker’s new collection Bad Apple is in stores and online now with the range inspired by an excursion to an apple orchard in Upstate New York. After one of her successful New York Fashion Week shows, Karen decided to take a Summer mini-break and ended up at an apple orchard where she ‘spent the day riding on a flatbed truck through the sunlit-dappled trees, to the red barns where the air was redolent with the scent of Golden Delicious’.
That overpowering sensory experience captured Karen’s imagination and provided a fascinating springboard for her Bad Apple collection. “I still remember how heady the fragrance was in the barn that day,” Karen recalls, “And how the air was so warm and wonderful, optimistic and full of sunshine.”
While the overriding mood of this range is fun and cheerful, it wouldn’t be a Karen Walker collection without a taste of the subversive. As the designer herself notes there is a bad apple in every barrel, and her heroine for Bad Apple has a darker heart. Karen has long been inspired by rebellious Sissy Spacek in Badlands, whose character Holly ‘has her delinquent urchin fingerprints all over everything this season’.
The film was set in the Midwest in the late 1950’s which lends itself beautifully to sunny summer dresses that could easily be in the wardrobe of a runaway Pentecostal preacher’s daughter. The full skirts, bow-tie blouses and ruffled hems and collars have a sweetness that is juxtaposed with utilitarian denim that draws its roots from the farm. Karen’s medieval apple tree print is that tantalising mix of pretty yet wicked with the coils of a serpent hidden among the apple tree branches.
The designer has cleverly evoked the masculine elements of the film with boxy James Dean jackets that feature large overstitched patch pockets, those elements are given a feminine twist seen in soft waist-tied suiting. Denim is key with the ‘parish pants’, a slim-proportioned take on a paperback waist and Karen’s classic widelegged, high-waisted ‘Original Sin’ flares that make a welcome return.
A suitable Midwest colour palette features dusty apple pink florals and sun-ripe yellow prints with crisp white cotton and rust belt ochre. Refined twinsets in cashmere and elegant blazers in super soft velvet cotton add to the charming appeal of this range. While fresh sweatshirting with the Runaway Girl and her bindle include a coiled banner “Young, Willing and Eager” that winds through the trees. Bad Apple could definitely convince you to turn bad too.