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Ohne Titel: Geometry Lesson

Renata Espinosa
September 12th, 2010 @ 12:10 AM - New York

Some designers cite travel to exotic locales as sources of inspiration; for others, a trip to the library or an art museum does the trick just as well.

Flora Gill and Alexa Adams of Ohne Titel, whose artful, technically impressive knitwear wouldn’t be out of place in a gallery show of its own, looked to the work of 19th century Japanese woodblock artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi for their spring 2011 collection, shown in New York on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The duo emphasized linearity with geometric color blocking, like linen pants and short-sleeved kimonos with panels of navy, white and black, sharp accordion pleats in a series of knit skirts and dresses and striped, textured knits that looked like a stretched taffy version of a chevron pattern.

Yet for all its angularity and sharp edges, there was a graceful sense of movement that was to be expected from designers known for infusing their collections with sporty, athletic touches. A navy and black draped racerback vest was deliciously languid, like dripping ink or water. And in a surprising juxtaposition, slick neoprene bodysuits, almost like rubbery breastplates, were paired with traditional Japanese cottons and linens.

For a spring collection, it was quite dark, with a lot of black and navy. But as any urban dweller knows, that’s a year-round color palette, and nothing a neon orange lip or a bold accessory can’t balance, like artist Tauba Auerbach’s color-filled pneumatic tube-like necklaces or one of their “flouro” booties.

While Ohne Titel’s complex knitwear remains an omnipresent highlight, one suspects that the colorblocked pants, their more flattering, arty take on cargo pants, will be as wildly coveted as their race-worthy paneled leggings of season’s past. “Speed Racer” loosens up, and has a moment of Zen.

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