The orange of Joe Fresh Style is equal parts Hermès orange and orange juice.
It is an important distinction, if only because as Joe Mimran's namesake brand - the one available in Loblaws locations across Canada - plans its expansion stateside, this is the colour he wants everyone to recognize as his. Pantone, are you listening?
His orange crush dominated the opening look, a neoprene swing coat featuring bucket-sized pockets and a rigid collar. It packed a zesty punch. Paired with a drawstring grey skirt, the outfit was very scuba and the city.
As with previous seasons, the collection moved through many stories, reintroducing the neoprene in shades of Kelly green and varsity blue while throwing faux leather fringe minis, beaded minis, gold-painted denim, python print, extra-long plastic chain-link necklaces and chunky knit tunic dresses into the mix. Let's hope the laceless gold oxfords actually make it to stores.
Mimran was careful to balance out all the youthful, '70s-inspired pieces.
One grey topcoat with colour-blocked accents on the belt, collar and pocket flaps was so sharp, it looked like it got separated from its Etro or Jil Sander clan and fell in with this one.
Essentials that will sell well on Fifth Avenue, the location of the first U.S. store, included striped knits, a black shift dress and a black sheer blouse that pairs nicely with dressier trousers plus wide and slim-cut pants alike. With these pieces, Mimran seemed intent on bridging that inexpensive work-appropriate gap between Uniqlo and Club Monaco (which, incidentally, he brought to New York over a decade ago).
One constant, the white turtleneck, was likely Mimran's response to the fall/winter Celine collection that showed in Paris last month. The upshot is that Joe Fresh Style has won the hearts of both high-fashion types who will wear them with long coats and suburban moms who will wear them under hockey jerseys.
As for the multicoloured knit sweaters, they were nods to painters Peter Doig and Joshua Abelow and made for a fun, arty folly.
Wait … where was the men's wear? Since launching the line five years ago, Joe Fresh Style has always featured a few fresh-faced gents in prep-school attire on the runway. Apparently, the brand is rethinking the direction, working to make a bigger impact for spring 2012.
But there was one gent in the front row worth noting: well-followed fashion scribe Derek Blasberg, who Mimran brought in for the occasion along with a few other New York fashion writers, perhaps figuring this gesture would pay off more than getting a celebrity model to open the show (as has been his custom). With any luck, they will now go back and spread the gospel of Joe. Let the orange invasion begin.