The show started out with a soft rigidity perfect for exploring the plains. Belts cinched the waists of strict black jackets, pants and coat dresses while white, fluttery blouses with plunging necklines and ivory floor length ruffled skirts added an airy freedom. A belted khaki pantsuit was the epitome of a woman on the hunt for wild boar, while a belted khaki a-line skirt suit brought us back to the lodge. Intermixed were lightweight linen frocks a’la Meryl Streep after a long day in Out of Africa.
A model in a sheath strapless minidress appeared to be standing naked in a field of waving wheat, while another was armored in a vinyl charcoal gray and black patent coat equipped with pockets big enough to hold the necessary trekking gear. Coats and jackets with prominent clasps followed, worn over shirts with protective, Pilgrim-esque collars.
Then came the wildlife. A model in a floor-length ribbon wrapped gown resembled a zebra grazing down the runway, followed by plumage-puffed dresses strikingly similar to the perplexingly graceful ostrich.
Posen’s color busts were wild cries from the skies beginning with a pinwheel cocktail as yellow as the rising sun to a blazing red floor-length as hot as the midday desert. Meticulous touches of more spiral ribbons on a bronze gown reminiscent of a day’s-end glow emulated cascading rays over waves of grain. A one-shouldered column gown resembled a storm cloud engulfing the sky, shashed with pillowed fabric in deep blues, purples and grays. Perhaps the collection's most dramatic gown was silver like the desert’s rare, yet violent, rainstorm. A sprig of spiky feathers protruding off the shoulder was lightning, while the garment’s billowy bottom gathered and swayed like a gust of wind.
While the tendency to intermix bursts of color into a neutral pallet carried over from Posen’s Spring 2007 collection, he seemed to have a bit more fun this year. The playful looks of ’08 imply that Posen is sure enough in his visions to add an element of fantasy to his otherwise grownup collections. It also merits mention that his safari adventure gave us all the chance to escape to a simpler time when Mother Nature was the sole decider of our fates.