Before I attended the spring/summer 2012 media preview last week, I admit I'd written off OAK + FORT as too Fashion Toast-y for my tastes. The few times I'd set foot inside or strolled past their window displays, their clothes had always seemed to be all cropped tops and asymmetrical hems, sheer things meant for wispy waifs, shapeless shirts and sweaters. So you can imagine my surprise and delight at OAK + FORT's current collection, which juxtaposes sleek tailored lines with draping in a way that's downright wearable. Their design team lightened up the usual austere palette of black and white and opted for subdued shades of cream, blush and mint, as well as a muted floral print in the form of a sun dress. Cutaways and sheer or lace panel insets updated classic collared blouses.
Guests enjoyed cupcakes, champagne and music provided by a live harpist sitting in the shop window before the media presentation began. Groups of models, styled by M'c kenneth Licon of Little Fashionisto fame, stood in place in the middle of the store to show the clothes to full advantage, their outfits perfectly accessorized with shades from Bruce Eyewear and shoes from Rowan Sky. Standout pieces included a black mini shift with a white Peter Pan collar and airy and chunky knitwear. But my favourite piece in the store, hands down, was the collared blouse with triangular neckline cutouts that I found on the rack.
I've never been happier at being proven wrong: OAK + FORT isn't a write-off, but a fledgling label where even a classic girl can find a covetable piece or two.