The invitation came late. Rather than being last minute, it was as if the list had been well thought out, purposeful. The Matthew Ames Spring 2011 Show was not at Lincoln Center with all the clamor of cameras and cashmere. The show was at Milk Studios. The taxi ride was long in the unseasonably warm city. The jumble of 9th Avenue passed before me as I rode along. From delis, to flower shops, to Chinese Restaurants; from parks, to squashed walk-ups to sky scrapers; and all the while, the kaleidescope that make up the people of New York continued to stream by. So when we pulled abruptly to a building that resembles a warehouse, I was worried. This was the artsy, eclectic part of the city. Once inside, however, was a different story. Cool, serene and astonishingly quiet, the waiting room resembled a museum and smelled of fresh paint. Two distinctly ordered lines were formed of attendees. I scuttled in the miniature elevator with the last group, silently watching the hopeful faces of those would be attendees. Inside the show was the typical hushed hub bub of an art opening rather than the frantic seat jockeying and air-kissing that is so prevalent at Shows at Lincoln Center. Again, calm, soothing; surely a precursor to what was to come.
The show program touted this collection to be Matthew Ames new expression to his greatest strengths. New ways of constructing clothing, intuitively sensing what is modern using color, fabric and proportion. The collection was heralded as entirely and locally American but the roots of the many countries that make up America were as prevalent as the drive down 9th Ave. The palette was neutral with shots of brilliant, natural colors: Southwest turquoise, Gulf States coral, Wild West copper, Mojave Dessert cactus and High Prairie mustard. Textures were as varied as the terrain: raw silks, woven linens, sheer chiffons. Powerful yet delicate; meant to embody and present the confident, modern woman.