Wednesday was ‘curtains’ down for New York Fashion Week. Coincidentally, as I was sitting in Starbucks (the one on 41st street right near the Bryant Park Tents and not far from the theatre district) getting a much needed caffeine fix before taking my seat at the Anne Klein Show, I saw a poster on the wall for the "The Lion King". At first, when I spotted the large lion, I did a double take, thinking it was a cleverly placed ‘ad’ for Anne Klein (the lion has been the company’s symbol since the 70’s, when Anne Klein was gloriously and ably designing).
While I think Ms. Toledo is an amazing talent, I had mixed feelings about her debut as head of design for the famed label (which was shown about 6 months ago for fall 2007). But after seeing her imaginative, wonderfully exuberant, well balanced, well realized point of view for spring/ summer, which successfully marries art and commerce, all I can say is, "The lion has roared".
The collection, built around a neutral color palette of white, shades of gray, brown, rust, and black (jazzed up with bright prints- both geometrics and florals), is definitely not for immature young girls who are looking for thigh high minis and innocent looking frocks. These are clothes for a grown up woman who knows herself and feels comfortable in her own skin.
There was a variety of great dresses, (for day and evening), standout blouses and skirts (that had the look of a one piece dress when matched), tailored blazers and natty pantsuits (for which Anne Klein herself was known), distinctive coats (I loved the black and ivory vertically striped coat ‘dandy’ coat which was shown over a 3 tiered skirt in the same stripe but worked horizontally), and superb raincoats (the soft glazed silk coats were wonderfully roomy and almost translucent and would make the perfect travel coat because they appear to be light as air).
But since both she and her husband, Ruben (a famed illustrator), are known as an artistic duo, it is hardly surprising, especially given the fact that prints and patterns were a major trend this past week, that the segments that stood out were those that relied on artistic renderings of prints.
And boy, talk about a season of unconventional inspirations. On Tuesday, Monique Lhuillier admitted that her soft yummy color palette was inspired by her favorite Laduree confections, and today, in her program notes, Isabel explained that Ruben accidentally "smeared one of my favorite dresses with paint. I loved it so much it inspired a series of one-of-a-kind pieces. That’s what I call an "Art-Attack".
The result is a white cotton fabric onto which tiny little colorful squares have been artistically placed. Kicking off the show, and the first number out, was a belted, long sleeved shirtdress, accessorized with a clutch bag in the same print. And at the end of the show, there was a group of colorful hand painted florals on silk which were translated into several broomstick pleated dresses.