Thursday, March 7, 2013

Duro Olowu for JCP: Colors and Prnts Make Some Noise

THE colors jumped out at me, grabbed the lapels of my tweed coat, and implored me to take them and the bag they were covering with me. Red, orange, green, turquoise, navy, brown, white were all beseeching me in quiet, urgent tones.

I did as they bid, despite the fact that the handle and panels with which they were keeping company were faux leather. And then there was the faux snakeskin closure. The tote was so persuasive that a girl had to overlook these minor details. After all, life is a series of tradeoffs, is it not?

Two days later, two ladies were oohhing and ahhing over my tote. Of course, I gave them to know that the Duro Olowu creation would not be available until 1 March. They were momentarily deflated, but elated when I told them that it was only $50.

Yours Truly is jawing about Duro Olowu for JCP. The collection of apparel, accessories and home décor items, which is inspired by the London-based designer’s Spring 2013 collection (see video above), is now in JCPenney brick and mortars as well as You and you and you can shop to your heart’s delight. (And JCPenney can focus on something other than its spat with Macy's over Martha Stewart.)

It's all Duro Olowu for JCP: Sundress, necklace, sandals, vases, accent rugs and a certain tote that talks. Photos from Duro Olowu.

Has DO seen a print he did not like? Possibly, but one thinks not. The two titans of prints without doubt are Himself and one Custo Dalmau (the man behind Custo Barcelona). While DO is based in the UK, his heart is clearly still in his native Nigeria or somewhere in West Africa.

Just about every stitch, stone, pebble and pleat in Duro Olowu for JCP is infused with a bit of West Africa. Buyer, do be aware that there is a lot going on. JCP calls the collection a “riot of color.” True that, but it is the combination of bold colors and bodacious prints that takes each item to a place few can go and rest comfortably. Multiple colors and multiple prints – paisley, stripes, florals, turquoise, orange, pink, green – co-exist in peace and harmony rather than utter chaos, provoking a body to exclaim, “What was he thinking?!”

It is perfectly understandable that the Duro Olowu collection would be the cause of excitement.

Dear Readers, please note that your humble guide may not be the best one to speak about Duro Olowu for JCP. Simply put, I am a print fanatic who often mixes and matches as many as I can get away with – far more than the law of physics or the most relevant branch of science allows. I am a lawbreaker. To that end, if you do not like DO’s collection, do consider the source of all of this exuberance. That written, I am in good company (First Lady Michelle Obama)as it regards the designer's threads.

All disclaimers revealed – other than the fact that I met the designer and his collection at a smashing party and gifting suite during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York – the collection is eye-catching and arresting. And, and, and, it is far more affordable than anything he might show during London Fashion Week. In fact, the most costly item herein is the fetching carry-on bag with wheels ($90.) While nothing is sourced from the finest textiles available – impossible at these price points – everything is well-made. Do note that it is cheap but does not look cheap. This is not junk.

It seems that Duro Olowu has it covered from head to floor.

The second most costly item in Duro Olowu for JCP is the Turquoise-Gold Metallic Brocade Trench Coat ($75). At The Daily gifting suite that was set up at the Stone Rose Lounge in Time Warner Center, journalists and tastemakers were allowed two items. I also walked away with the coat, which DO gave me to know can be worn as a dress, too.

The coat/dress was one of the most popular items in the suite and went as fast as a scud missile. It pleases me to report that the wrinkles that so assaulted the coat after it spent several hours semi-balled up in my gift bag did make themselves very scarce after it was hung.

The Duro Olowu metallic brocade trench coat can play the part of a dress if necessary.

The coat/dress will likely be a popular seller along with the Abstract Leaf Print T-Strap Platform Sandals. The shoes complement every piece of apparel, proving that women don’t need a zillion pair and that DO was wearing his thinking caps as he was creating Duro Olowu for JCP, including coffee, mugs, vases, and writing paper. Merchandising, isn’t it wonderful!

DO pronounced himself “excited” about the partnership with JCPenney. And why shouldn’t he be?

Visit to learn more about Duro Olowu for JCP; visit to learn more about the Duro Olowu Spring 2013 collection. Rx

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