Degen Spring 2013NEW YORK, Sep 5, 2012/ — Officially, New York Fashion Week does not start until tomorrow. Unofficially, it starts today and the Degen presentation is my first show of the season.

Collaborating with Converse shoes, which meant that all the models wore Converse and the shoes were properly paired with an outfit, the Degen Spring /Summer 2013 collection had a bit of whimsy, a bit of sporty, and there was a big splash of retro.

Reminiscent of Walter Van Beirendonck of the famed Belgian Five, the knits were more artistic than wearable. And this is a breath of fresh air after 8 seasons of “very wearable” collections (translate that to boring) because of the recession and everyone’s need to sell.

It’s not to say that the Degen collection is the best representation of this fashion variety. Across town at Benetton, the knits proposed are artistic as well as provocative. And as already mentioned, the Degen collection is derivative of Walter Van Beirendonck.

Still, we should not minimize its importance. The fact that designers are now once again experimenting and pushing the envelope might well be a sign that the recession might be abating. After all, fashion followers have made comments in years past that fashion designers at times are prescient.

Photos by Mari Davis