Big and baggy styles are nothing new for Willi Smith.
It’s a look he created and has stuck to since he began showing collections eight seasons ago, and they were again on view this season.
The giant windowpane checks, rolled and cropped pants, and the unusal mix of textures he’s known for were all present in the spring ’85 collection. But the look gets a shot in the arm for spring with several short, kicky skirts, softer color combinations and a twist on his traditional layering.
For fall, Smith likes layer upon layer of heavy wools, wrapped head scarves and work boots – often referred to as the bag-lady look.
The look for spring, however, has a breezy attitude as seen in several buttondown skirts left unbuttoned and pinned to one side and worn over sassy shorts or cropped pants.
Camp shirts worn over T-shirts, walking shorts with boxy tops, and balloon-sized jumpsuits rolled to mid-calf are also Smith staples for spring. Since Smith believes in showing his collection in the ”proper environment,” fashion critics were treated to a ”sightseeing tour” where each segment of his collection was shown in elaborate theme dioramas.
The first part of the collection was called Sugar Cane and was set in an African field complete with a bongo-playing ”slave.” Here dancing cane workers wore cocoa striped jumpsuits, mustard and gray striped shorts, and ankle- length dusters, accessorized by straw cloche hats and swatches of burlap wrapped around their ankles.
The layering look was introduced with a cocoa and cream striped side button skirt that was pinned to the waist on one side, revealing white thigh-high shorts. It was worn with a matching cotton blouse, tied at the midriff. Another pinned skirt was worn over loose, cropped pants.
Next it was on to Metropolis, a set of windowpane checks in black shown in simple mini-shifts, pleated skirts and oversized jackets in a woven pattern that mixed stripes and small diamonds.
Sleeveless shirts sporting armholes that nearly reached the waist topped this set. These were great for those with a touch of exhibitionism in them but otherwise impractical.
Leaving Metropolis, it’s on to the country club which was complete with putting green and tea party and contained Smith’s nicest spring offerings.
The three L’s were especially evident in a four-piece ensemble that included a T-shirt worn under a midriff blouse and a pinned back side- button skirt worn over roll cuffed pants. Done in soft hues of robin’s egg blue and apricot, the outfit was worn with flat white shoes and anklets for a fanciful spring look.
Less exciting were the offerings in the Los Angeles and Punch and Judy segments of Smith’s show.
The first featured a wild and nearly indescribable print of lime, red, purple and black dots and dashes on a white backround. The print was used in bandeau tops worn with a palm tree print skirt and lilac jacket and again in a hip- wrapped kimono worn over white walking shorts and camp shirt top.
The Punch and Judy segment contained models made up like puppets and dressed in stark white bibbed jumpsuits, cropped pants and oversized shirts.
With the exception of a short, pleated skirt, oversized blouse and flowing raincoat – all in white – this segment was rather dull and uninspiring.
The Smith collection ranges from $40 for a camp shirt to $130 for a spring duster or raincoat.