Taking refuge from the torrential rain, a flock of fashion goers packed into Philip Sparks’ showroom last night to catch a glimpse of his Spring 2011 collection. While many guests arrived soaking wet, the stage was perfectly set for a show inspired by—fittingly enough—spring rain. Housed in the historic Burroughs building, the tiny vintage elevator carted many excited viewers to the fifth floor. Other eager fashionistas dared to climb the five flights clad in heels to secure some prime real estate among the standing room-only crowd. There was an air of anticipation in the room, as this collection marks the debut of Sparks’ highly awaited womenswear line. The designer met mounting requests from female fans by undertaking a line for the ladies. Yet the inevitable question remained: can a designer that has built his career upon offering tailored goods for men successfully transition to womenswear? Showcasing twenty-one men’s and women’s looks on a hybrid runway, the resounding answer is definitely yes!
Staying true to his heritage aesthetic, the show opened with a signature men’s look: an impeccably tailored plaid gauze jacket worn over a bleached denim shirt, and paired with crisp chinos. The first woman’s look, a fitted blouse and navy canvas skirt, unveiled Sparks’ custom digital print, inspired by cherry blossoms—the print featured throughout the woman’s collection. The designs, set in a watery colour palette of cool blues with olive accents, overflowed with plaids and light denim washes. Accompanying these vintage-inspired looks were custom buffalo leather belts and bags complete with retro detailing, which gave the collection a nostalgic feel. The women’s pieces all reflected Sparks’ signature tailoring, while still remaining feminine and easy to wear. The presentation concluded with a show-stopping printed jumper for her, and a turquoise linen blazer over a chambray shirt and classic khaki chinos for him. Exuding a youthful and fresh vibe, the designer proves himself as a markedly versatile talent and successfully voyages into new territory.