New York Fashion Week spring 2014: Clover Canyon review

NEW YORK -- The L.A. inspiration has been coming fast and furious at New York Fashion Week this season, including at Clover Canyon by L.A.-based designer Rozae Nichols.

The look: California modern expressed in engineered prints.


The inspiration: SoCal landscape and architecture -- John Lautner's Chemosphere house, the work of "household modernists Charles and Ray Eames," according to the show notes, "and California's legendary light ... and light artists Robert Irwin, Dan Flavin and James Turrell."

"I grew up with this stuff, so I just love it, and so many of my friends are artists and architects," said Nichols. "I actually went to Istanbul this summer, and it was stunning, but I came home just wanting to cleanse the old and celebrate justified graphics, which is so much of what California architecture is about, as well as appreciating our indoor-outdoor lifestyle."

If you look closely, the prints depict midcentury indoor-outdoor interiors, swimming pools, the  Hollywood Bowl and Huntington Gardens. Some even incorporate architectural blueprints, given to Nichols by the L.A. firm Escher GuneWardena, "who wrote the book on John Lautner," she said.

Key pieces: The brand's signature engineered prints are attached to looser silhouettes this season, including long hostess dresses, bell-shaped crop tops, full skirts, palazzo pants and coats, as well as neoprene bra tops and shorts.

Nichols, who has had such success in past Clover Canyon collections with body-sculpted neoprene, also branched out into other fabrications, including filmy organza,  neoprene laser-cut mesh, silk shantung, embossed Latex and burlap "which is ever so that era," she said.

The verdict: Art to wear -- in a good way. Like a postcard from Southern California, with references that reach beneath the surface of the cliched sun and surf. It was also great to see Nichols push her prints forward with new shapes and materials.