Annie Thompson showed her collection last week at Rogue Gallery to a packed house, but her theme “I Am Not the Police” may have been met by some scrutiny from the rabble rousers in the audience – the result was a scattered display meant to be linked by a policing message. A message that was unfortunately lost in the plot.
While the bold message could be likened to an act of playful rebellion, most items read very old, while others – although youthful in nature – hit high levels of cheese in the prison-grade orange variety (see above).
I questioned the taste level quite a bit, because even for art moms and neo-hippies, the collection fell a little flat. Despite my ongoing cynicism, the audience as a whole really took a shine to the long time designer’s gallery owner-meets-Avril Lavigne aesthetic. It then dawned on me – Annie Thompson does not design for the fashion critics or the masses, but to a loyal following of consumers who have stuck with her throughout her many years. I spoke with one of her many clients (photographed below) and she said that modeling for Annie was fun for her, because she sees it as a way of supporting a brand she has embraced since day one.
I believe that is the goal of any designer – creating a loyal fan base of well wishers who do not ask for a compromise of vision. For this, Annie deserved her final round of applause. Despite the overwhelming show of support, the collection did not speak to a wide demographic of consumers – in fact, I’d argue that most pieces from the orange range will not sell very well. That being said, it wasn’t all prison orange and mom clothes.
A striking sheer black option layered a button up blouse with sheer panels over an airy skirt creating a perfect noir-on-noir look for seasons to come. I believe this was the most successful look of the collection because it spoke to the neo-goth on a dime element of her collection – but in this instance, it read expensive and flowed beautifully.
The question left on my mind after viewing Annie’s collection was, “does it really matter?” “It” in this instance refers to a need to construct photo-op ready garments when your fan base is perfectly content with your offerings. It has always been argued to me that you are only as good as your last collection, but for Annie it seems that her customers don’t really care. They want Annie for Annie, and if that means trotting around in a poorly fit cropped jacket or a neon orange asymmetrical vest, then so be it.
What do you think? If you love a brand, can they do no wrong? Will you defend Marc Jacobs to your death or are you a bit more discerning?