When I first started working at my first real job, I promised myself that, once I could afford it, I would treat myself to a Chanel suit. I never quite made it to spending several thousand dollars on one piece clothing – couture is out of reach for 99% of the population who, nowadays, crowds discount websites and buys knock-offs or assaults Target and H&M when budget priced designer collections hit their stores. I am not immune.

I have always admired Olivier Theyskens’ lines and purity of design. In the last few years, before the economy tanked, fashion was getting too accessorized and over the top for my tastes. I never quite understood those ugly Louboutin sandals, in golds and silvers, climbing up women’s ankles with all kinds of unnecessary trinkets dangling everywhere. I am still a Manolo girl.

Olivier Theyskens used to design fabulous and edgy gowns for Rochas first and then Nina Ricci. Both ventures didn’t end well, certainly not for lack of critical acclaim. To me, they were just gowns on the pages of Vogue or on some red carpet on tv, inaccessible. When I saw that Mr. Theyskens had agreed to design a line for Theory, my ears perked up. Could it be…? Yes, it could.

I always thought of Theory as a better and more expensive version of Banana Republic – somewhat conservative, for the well dressed New York woman but a bit too conventional for my taste. Then I browsed the website to check out Mr. Theyskens’ collection. There they were – those simple yet elegant and well constructed lines, in long coats, pleated skirts. A pair of stretch corduroy named Pepper caught my eye: still low on the hips, very flared at the bottom. I finally tried them on today and they fit perfectly, the corduroy soft as if already broken into and it was hard to decide whether I liked electric blue or a deep wine red better.

What I was really looking for was an outfit for a black-tie event I will be attending for which I proverbially have nothing to wear. Seriously. I had spotted some long black skirts on the website I was eager to check out. The sales assistant brought out instead a silver skirt, high-waisted and narrow on the hips, widening at the bottom in large, flat pleats, creating a pooling effect as it fell to the floor. It looked stunning.  It can just be matched with a simple black tank top because the skirt doesn’t need much dressing up.

But be warned. Unless you are 6′ tall, every single item will have to be shortened. I thought my 5’7” was an average height but I guess in certain realms clothes are designed for long limbed storks. No matter. Prices are higher than your average Theory item but worth every penny. Nothing in common with Banana Republic here.

Check out the collection at www.theory.com




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