Friday, January 14, 2011

Latest Fascination: Althea Harper's Harmonics Collection

In the midst of my Althea Harper Lorenzo Dress debacle I must admit I've spent a good deal of time consoling myself by looking at images off her site. Specifically, I have been looking toward Spring by admiring her Harmonics collection. I have become obsessed with the muted palette and the shape of some of these items - so I just had to know more! When Ms. Harper was not able to make my New Years Eve party, she graciously offered to spend some time on the phone with me because I had questions about Harmonics. I spoke with the elusive yet accessible designer last Friday.

My Confession
I debated a long time over even posting my discussion with Ms. Harper about this collection. I sort of wanted to keep this special phone call all to myself. But in the end I decided the conversation and details of the collection were worth sharing with you.

Jess Skirt
Why "Harmonics"?
I got the answer to the question of how this collection was named by asking Ms. Harper about the "Tree-like" print on many of her items. She corrected me: It's not a tree, it's sound waves. The pitch and the volume and what you say actually determine the pattern. She didn't use a specific sound or anything, she confessed. But she did go on about how you can take this visual representation of sound and manipulate it in Photoshop in such interesting ways.

Additionally Ms. Harper adds that this collection was also about balance.  More items are mirrored, the patterns reflect one another. But that's not to say you won't see asymmetry - Althea Harper's popular one-shoulder designs are still present. However, it was this pattern that really drew me to this collection. I fully intend on purchasing the skirt pictured above. As you can see, it also comes in a full length dress.

Grace Skirt
What Is Up With The Super Sexy Pencil Skirts?
One design element that appears over and over again in Harmonics is the use of a fitted skirt that falls below the knee in a tight taper. I  told Althea it reminded me of those "cigarette pants" that were so popular years ago. She told me she drew inspiration from the forties silhouette. "Every woman has something they are self-conscious about," she told me, "well for me it's my knees." Isn't she lucky? When she said that I started to rattle off the things I hate about my body (stomach, butt, hips, arms, back, neck... knees). But I must admit it was refreshing to hear the gorgeous Glamazon Althea Harper admitting she didn't like something about her rockin' body. Either way, pull out those Spanx ladies because these skirts are smokin' hot with their curve hugging shape!

If you browse her collection you'll see this shape repeated not only in skirts but in dresses as well. It's clear knees were on Ms. Harper's mind!

Monaco Dress
What is THAT Fabric???
Looking through the collection you'll see a very strange metallic looking fabric used several times. Knowing that Althea Harper tends to use some non-traditional fabrics on occasion (shoe lace yarn, anyone?) I thought maybe this was the non-traditional fabric. "It's jersey," she tells me. I couldn't believe it. But apparently this jersey she uses has a metallic sheen in it that makes these items look like liquid gunmetal. So once again Althea Harper stays true to her "comfortable clothing" ideals through the use of a non-traditional jersey fabric. The dress in this fabric, or the sexy skirt, are on my "wish list" items should I come up with some serious throw-away cash.

How Much Will It Cost? And When Is It Available?
Items will be priced between $100 and $400, so hopefully the ones I have my eyes on will be on the affordable end. The collection will go up for purchase on her site on March 1st.

I love backstage pics, don't you?

What's Next On Althea's Plate?
Fashion Week in February, obviously! She is back in her studio and working on the collection. She told me that there is a killer blazer in the collection that I will just love. She even said she'd send me a picture when it's finished. Keep your fingers crossed for me that I get that picture! I need to fall in love with a blazer right about now.

Something I Did Not Get An Answer To...

Polly Jacket, Zach Pants
Can't say I'm down with this. I'm reminded of pajamas rather than a suit. It also, to me, seems out of place with the rest of the palette and prints. But to each their own.

Also, shapes like this....

Harmony Dress
Not sure what I think about this one...
While I think the name "Harmony" is very fitting for this dress, I just can't see very many people being able to pull this off. To me, it's a little bit "elegant Snuggy". On the other hand, perhaps if it were paired with some strong earthy jewelry it could look absolutely in place on the right woman.

I don't have to like everything, right? Right?

A Few Other Pictures Of Looks I Like...

Jess Dress

Megan Dress

Miller Jacket, Cali Pant
I'm not to fond of the leggings, but I love the blazer!
Boyfriend Tank, Stewart Pant
My Mom adores these capris. I think they look comfy!

Anyway, I can hardly wait for March 1st. That Jess skirt will be mine! I can see myself building a good solid work wardrobe around it provided I can get just a couple more inches of length... maybe I'm better off with Grace... decisions!

All images are from Althea Harper's site or from Althea Harper herself.