Spring / Summer 2018
For Jonathan Cohen’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection ‘Untitled: daffodil’, the designer chose to honor and celebrate the artistic path of Lee Krasner, the Abstract Expressionist painter and widow of artist Jackson Pollock.
Krasner possessed a keen shrewdness in promoting and selling Pollock’s work, oftentimes at the expense of her own artistic career. COHEN deftly used an eclectic mix of silhouettes, saturated colors, and custom textiles (developed in his downtown design studio) to illustrate three significant periods of Krasner’s artistic works and her evolution as a woman: Pre-Pollock (idealism), Peak-Pollock (inferiority), and Post-Pollock (independence).
Soigné suiting and cocktail options are deployed in a kaleidoscope of pink and yellow micro florals. COHEN riffed on Krasner’s “Shattered Glass” (1947) to create his quilted silk shattered light pattern; These styles are also available in a variety of solid hues. Sportif styles like pilatzo cargo pants in washed taffeta, and sexy bustiers in washed silk faille act as the proverbial swinging pendulum between the idealism of youth and the presumed expectations of adulthood.
During their marriage, Krasner and Pollock shared a farmhouse in The Springs on the outskirts of East Hampton; Krasner worked in an upstairs bedroom while Pollock worked in an expansive barnyard studio. Cohen created hundreds of illustrations of daffodils to develop the unique prints as an ode to Krasner. Cohen imagined Krasner obsessively sketching flowers with the scale of each sketch constantly alternating as a reflection of the tension she experienced in her relationship with Pollock.
The miniature scale of black and white floral sketches against a golden backdrop, illustrate Krasner’s “place” or status in the relationship. Cohen also explored this concept in a small scale smocked gingham trench coat, as well as a flirty wrap skirt, and a knotted-back pullover. Flowing maxi dresses and gathered skirts in stark white and black fil coupé, meanwhile, play on Krasner’s “Stop and Go” (1949), and an imagined scenario where she might have ripped her sketchbook of daffodils to shreds, and pieced the tears together to create a new mosaic.
Following Pollock’s untimely death, Krasner took over his much larger studio space, and was no longer confined to creating minuscule works. Instead, she created full-scale paintings using color and form in a way she never had before. Cohen represents this awakening with an explosive use of color and scale to create his Celestial Daffodil print — featured on a bias cut silk skirt, and a quartet of feminine day and evening dresses in varying lengths and styles.
Cohen updated his signature slash skirt with figure-flattering godets offering a relaxed fit-and-flare sophistication. Tiers of exaggerated ribbons are affixed at the wrists of jackets or cascade down the sides of twill pants, cotton tunics, knit jersey t-shirts, and luxe silk skirts adding a sensual, deshabille effect. Oversize artist’s smocks with deconstructed thread embroideries (aptly named the “morning after button down”), rushed silk georgette underpinnings, slim cashmere cardigans and polo shirts - and one sumptuous navy saga mink bolero - complete the working artist’s (and gallerists’s) masterful wardrobe.