Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Free People Finds An Edge For Fall

Free People tank
There are plenty of fans of the bohemian style sported by Free People. This fall, however, proves to be a bit different for the designer. There is a noticeable edge to many of the vintage and classic designs.

The lines are tighter; the colors are bolder. Even something as simple as a tank takes on another dimension with a contoured waist with a flare at the hemline. While this transitional piece will require a jacket as the weather cools down, there is still plenty of time to pull it off as a late summer sensation.

It works for two reasons. The overall lines are bold and daring, but the the cut and crocheted detailing add an unmistakable feminine touch. Add in some stud detailing and it becomes easy to see why the day-tripped Toosloosa tank is still a favorite. It's the piece that inspired this review.

Free People finds a little more edge to its vintage look. 

The look definitely brings in a harder edge that was found in the late 60s and early 70s when movements felt more militant. And yet, what makes this design collection memorable isn't only the edge but how the design team managed to make it feminine.

Free People
The military ruffle jacket is a classic example. From the front, there appears to be some much-loved wear to the cotton (and spandex for strength) jacket. It comes across as masculine, with a notched label and ragged sleeves.

But from the back, the ruffled detailing adds a decidedly different twist. And so do the tie cuffs on the back of each sleeve. It's the combination that makes the style tough but with a hint of temptation too.

It's also how most of the collection came together. Even the most bohemian designs, like the dotted mesh Fiona Victorian top carry a toughness worth consideration. The color suggests an autumn romance, inviting and stylish. But how this piece will really pay off depends more on its match.

Free PeopleWith a distressed denim jacket, jeans or skirt, the top becomes a contrasting and comfortable part of any concert ensemble. Again, the lace might make it feminine but the lines are bold, especially across the button back closure.

Of course, not every number is contoured in the collection. Free People maintains its usual range of cuts and styles with every idea casting the collection in a new direction. For something that hugs a little less but still demands attention, Free People has always put out great pullovers.

The only difference between the newest offerings and pullovers from a few seasons ago, much like most of the collection, is the effort to bring everything in to allow for layering. The French Terry boho bum, with its high/low hem and embroidered detailing, is every bit as eye catching but without tailoring.

Free People adds more edge to always interesting and relaxed designs. 

Free People has always been one of my favorite design boutique success stories. It started with a young man named Dick Hayne who planted a seed in West Philadelphia that focused exclusively on younger people who wanted more freedom in their clothes. You know the store. It was called Urban Outfitters.

From there, Hayne and his wife wanted to push their design sensibilities in different directions. They went on to launch more brand stores like Bulldog, Ecote, Cooperative, and Anthropologie. After all of those brands were established, they relaunched Free People as a separate store in 1984.

The Fall Collection From Free People Slips On 8.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

With almost three decades behind the initial brand, Free People remains fresh as it evolves with the times. Initially loved for its cutting-edge bohemian look, the latest collection has added a new edge.

Free People has has more than 50 designs for its new transitional collection. You can view most of the collection at Bloomingdales. The department store recently added a look book that highlights many of the new styles that are waiting to be layered for fall.
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