Sunday, February 05, 2006

New York Fashion Week: Day 2

Alice Roi was working around the idea of “head to toe volume with touches of innocent romance” and was inspired by Rembrandt’s color tones for her pared down collection (edited down to 37 pieces) held at the Bryant Park Tents on Saturday afternoon. Based primarily on soft, appealing, and always classic neutral shades (pale gray, navy, white, crème, black) which were enlivened with touches of hot pink and turquoise, the hallmarks this time were her wonderful knits, short puffed sleeves, bib details, soft and pretty blouses, skinny pants that resembled leggings, patent details, and jumpers, which were predominant and which she transformed into appealingly lovely cocktail dresses. This was epitomized by the finale, a knee length crème silk crepe tucked floral sequin panel jumper with all over pleats.

Alexandre Herchcovits did practically a complete about face from seasons past (his trademarks are the bright and optimistic colors and patterns) with a collection that was rendered in predominantly black and dark moody shades, and could best be described as ‘fierce’ with its concentration on heavily constructed jackets and coats. Many of these featured exaggeratedly short puffed or leg o mutton sleeves, extended shoulders, and silver hardware (large buttons, zippers, and buckles). He admitted he wanted to reflect the idea of “rebellious luxury, urban aggressiveness, and volume” and said he was thinking of “what would happen if a young Italian Renaissance princess appeared these days, and had the influence of today’s musical trends- mainly rock.” It seemed to be one part warrior princess, one part Victorian, and one part ‘Pollyanna’ with Eastern European overtures and was all about mixing hard and soft, boy meets girl. This was epitomized by the finale- a cropped black heavy wool jacket with a military feel, worn over a graceful, long and fluid sheer chiffon tangerine, green, ivory color block gown.

Brian Wolk & Claude Morais, the duo behind the label Ruffian, called their collection, “American Novel”, a second installment of a trilogy which seeks to explore American fashion through interior and exterior view of our country’s relationship with clothing and the influence of European fashion”. Presented at the very popular and elegant National Arts Club in Gramercy Park, one that has seen more than its share of young couture collections, the 34 piece line was defined by “exquisite tailoring and noble textiles such as silk velvet, silk jacquard crepe de chine, architectural silk wool, and English Menswear.” It was elegant, ladylike, and modern and youthful all at the same time with some wonderful cartridge pleated dresses and blouses, a standout purple and blue Donegal plaid, trapeze dresses, and some beautifully cut minks including a short and very full skirted Garconne coat in saga mahogany mink with an oversized natural fin raccoon collar. Gabardine as the mainstay of the line spruced up with a ginkgo blossom print, the desired effect was one that was modern, relevant and very much in keeping with the American tradition of ready to wear. Our voyage for fall brought us from the American romantic postwar aesthetic of last season into the darkness and decadence of prewar Weimar Berlin.”

The Lacoste collection for men and women, under the guise of Christophe Lemaire, its creative director, continues to bring the iconic label into the 21st century through his mixing the company’s trademark preppy, slightly retro vibe with a street aesthetic and the upbeat, energetic and fast paced show, held at the Bryant Park Tents last night, was no different. Many of the pieces were unisex (expect for the mini dresses and mini skirts which were shown with flat cozy boots). There were a range of styles (lean tennis pullovers layered over polos, shirts and matching ties, quilted parkas and anoraks) and colors ran the gamut from neutral to acid. Often, the high voltage shades were mixed together. Stripes were another theme and showed up in knitwear pieces (I liked the black and white spectator stripe which turned up on a pullover and matching elongated scarf). Hats were the order of the day and ranged from cloches and newsboy caps to sporty baseball style caps.

By the way, one welcome new addition to the Bryant Park Tents this season, is York Peppermint Patties…The company not only dispenses its tiny iconic treats, but within their small booth, they prepare a wonderful mint hot chocolate. As the weather will be getting colder this week, that will certainly come in handy!
Marilyn Kirschner

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