Inspired by London street art and American fashion icons like Katharine Hepburn and Bianca Jagger, designer Katharine Polk’s spring collection for Houghton New York wowed audiences Friday night with an intoxicating blend of hand-sewn embroidery, lavish lace, rich textures, and sexy, sheer confidence (several of her pieces revealed a heady expanse of skin subtly sheathed in seductive silhouettes). Early standouts that brought enthusiastic claps and whistles included a black lace jacket and matching wide-legged pants and a black lace robe over billowy lace pants.
When Polk presented her “white” series, one could almost hear a collective intake of breath in the packed house as appreciative attendees absorbed the delicate fusing of purity and sensual confidence. While the lioness’s share of the collection offered pieces in black, white, and cream, Polk beautifully pushed the boundaries with several designs boasting an adventurous blend of detailed embroidery, lace, pink and black, and floral prints set in navy blue. Polk’s show was feminine and feisty, soft and romantic, and deliciously cut with the edge of seduction.
After the first phase of Polk’s show ended, the lights dimmed and the crowd fell into an anticipatory hush, awaiting Katharine Polk’s next fashion vision: Houghton Bride. Models slowed their pace, walking in rhythm to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones as people clapped. From a bridal pant suit (Ellen would have loved this for her wedding day) to a dress adorned with ostrich feathers from top to bottom to flowing gowns and floral prints and intimates in soft grays and sparkling amber tones, Polk’s bridal collection engaged attendees from start to finish.
The audience rose to their feet and cheered after the final model walk when Polk appeared on the runway accompanied by her English bulldog Jonesy. As satisfied attendees leisurely exited, a group of women in animated conversation agreed that they “can’t wait for Polk’s trunk show.”