Sunday, February 14, 2010

Adam’s ‘Apple’


(Photo: Firstview.com)

Adam Lippes, who showed at the Tents for the first time, cited inspiration for fall 2010 from the “lightness and line found in a painting by Isca Greenfield-Sanders” he had seen in a New York City apartment. The 36 piece collection was cool, hip, modern and of the moment, without trying too hard and oozed non chalant luxury. I detected elements of Alaia, Adrover, and Beene (especially in the gray wool flannel bustier dress with silver swirl embroidery shown over a black crewneck t), but it somehow all worked. The neutral color palette (olive, gray, putty, camel, ivory caramel, khaki, rust) was chic and easy on the eyes, the offhanded mixes (day for night, boy meets girl, etc.) were perfect, and the models, naturally gorgeous with their hair pulled back into long braids, looked as though they could have walked off the runway onto the street as is and it would not have been a stretch.


(Photo: Firstview.com)

There was long, short, and everything in between; including some great leather pieces (like the caramel leather pleated back tank dress that opened the show); stellar outwear (including a coyote lined waxed cotton anorak, a gray waxed cotton utility jacket with shearling collar, a charcoal etched stripe peacoat with shearling trim); great looking pants (some of them cut like jodhpurs); interesting skirts in a variety of lengths and shapes; standout textural cable hand knits; the employment of pewter and bent metal embroidery in unusual ways; and some interesting prints (kaleidoscope and cloud).

Color his World

(Photo: Firstview.com)

Is it me, or do the Lacoste shows always seem to perfectly coincide with world class sports events? In September, it was (and always is) the US Open, which is excellent timing considering the company’s tennis heritage. And yesterday, it was the opening of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. And when you think snow, you think white and pale, which was a good segue into the first group of clothes (from the classic Club line) shown on the gals and the guys. It was all about great looking and timeless pieces (great coats, jackets, and highly textural knitwear in tonal, soft pale neutrals).


(Photo: Firstview.com)

This was followed by the group in living color which Christophe Lemaire, head of design for Lacoste, described as "vibrant, energetic and youthful with a 'Kool Aid' palette of color blocks”. There were seemingly endless combinations layering vibrant green, pink, yellow, and black, down to the accessories hats, tights, gloves, and leg wear. It was in this group that Mr. Lemaire experimented with the proportion of the company’s classic polo (it was cropped then stitched into a bolero like cape, or made into a maxi dress).

In the meanwhile, in celebration of the company’s rich heritage and history, every show attendee’s seat had a copy of the handsome Assouline book, ‘Lacoste’. Unfortunately, it was quite heavy and so, unless you were going straight home, rather than running around to shows all day, I doubt you would have taken it.

‘Fur’ Sure?

(Photo: Coutorture.com)

Andy & Debb obviously have a following (I overheard one show attendee right before the show, saying she was SO excited because she LOVED the label). And I would guess this line appeals to a young woman who wants no nonsense clothes that have a look. The label generally offers a degree of fashion without making the wearer look like a hapless fashion victim and they always offer a good balance of daytime and evening (well tailored jackets and pantsuits, short dresses, evening separates).


(Photo: Coutorture.com)

Best pieces this time around were the black lamb pieces (a shirt jacket and deep v neck double breasted jacket), a fox collared sleeveless trench coat layered over a beige wool turtleneck; the black wool blend structured mini dress; the navy abbreviated blazer shown over belted narrow trousers, a strapless metallic textured knit mini, a fringed black mini, the black sequined mini dress with v neck back, and a black sequin mini skirt worn with a black wool ribbed turtleneck. They get an A for effort in terms of their interesting approach to furs. I wasn’t sure if their mink pieces (a scrap patch bolero, a back tiered mink vest, and a gray mink square patched long vest), were real fur until I read the run of show. I guess that’s a good thing especially if they were aiming to be ‘politically correct’ and disguise the furs.

‘Academy’ Awards


(Photo: Coutorture.com)

Is it my imagination or was The Academy of Art University fashion show (always a popular event), even more well attended and jam packed (with many familiar fashion faces in the front row) than ever? This season, the work of 6 womenswear designers was highlighted: Marina Solomatnikova, who was inspired by the fragile multi layered landscapes found in Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings; Bethany Meuleners, who was inspired by futuristic photography and Duchamp’s painting, Nude Descending a Staircase; Naomi Sutton, who used intaglio etchings as inspiration for her prairie silhouettes; Hyo Sun An, who was aiming for a collection with “fluid amorphous boundaries”; Steven Oo, whose hand and machine knits were inspired by the lines of Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas; and Sabah Mansoor Husain, whose felt outerwear and crochet knits, embedded with jewel like crystals, were inspired by chandeliers.
Interestingly, it was the knitwear pieces that really stood out.


(Photo: Coutorture.com)

My personal favorites? Bethany Meuleners, whose collection focused on navy, black, eggplant, brown, maroon, and effectively counterbalanced her cool military blanket duffle coats with lace bodysuits and silk chiffon overlays; Steven Oo, whose showed his thick and highly textural gray and black merino wool knitwear with crisp white shirts and accessorized them with chic flat black equestrian boots; and Sabah Mansoor Husain, whose armor like felted jackets, and hand knit merino wool alpaca and mohair pieces, primarily done in black and shades of gray, had the look of armor.

The show was quickly paced but if I have one criticism, it was the loud music (who selected this music anyway?) It was so loud (even before the show began), it was impossible to hear what anyone was saying and more importantly, it was a complete distraction. By the time the show had ended, I felt as if I had lost my hearing. (What did you say?)

-Marilyn Kirschner

The Daily Bet

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-Rhonda Erb

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 3
If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium”



Photo: Firstview.com

And if it’s 7 pm at the Tents, on the final night of New York Fashion Week, this must be Ralph Rucci, right? Wrong. Talk about disorienting. Not only is fashion week going from Thursday to Thursday this season, rather than Friday to Friday, as it traditionally has, but there were a number of changes to the show schedule early on, which really threw things off kilter for many of us. I know it did for me.

Chado Ralph Rucci has long held the coveted spot as the ‘official’ last show of the season, and given the beauty of the collection, and the tremendously unique and rarefied talent of Mr. Rucci, all of us have considered it a bona fide treat and the perfect high note with which to end the week. But this season, his show was held on Saturday evening at 7 pm, at the Tent at Bryant Park. When I exited, I couldn’t help but feel as though the week was over even though it’s only just begun. Oh well, I guess one can argue it’s a wonderful way to start the week.


Photo: Firstview.com


The collection was undeniably remarkable, hitting all the high notes, and including the myriad themes and references that have come to define RR’s oeuvre and aesthetic (the detailed insets, the hand sewn blocks of wool crepe sewn onto tulle panels, the braids of leather and silk woven together, the incorporation of textures found in traditional basket weaving, the references to human anatomy, the homage to Japanese culture, the use of feathers and horsehair, etc.) It was signature Ralph, and I couldn’t help but think the song playing in the background, with the words, “Stop trying to change me; I am what I am”, was meant to reiterate that fact to the show attendees.


Photo: Firstview.com


But of course, the design process is always about refining, improving, and evolving, especially for a perfectionist like Ralph. This season, the late Pina Bausch’s “personal style and nonconformist choreography” served as strong points of reference throughout (still photographs from her performances were amazingly screened onto silk gazar creating strong, graphic visuals). And this season, Ralph was palpably more controlled, and more ‘low keyed’ than other seasons, and rather ‘reserved’. There was no haute couture shown, only ready-to-wear, (which, for RR is practically one in the same anyway). In place of beads and crystals, silk tulle and chiffon were shredded and sculpted into layers, enabling him to actually create his own fabrics and his own vocabulary of textures.


Photo: Isabelle Erb

Quite frankly, it was some of the ‘simpler’ items that really stood out: like the perfectly proportioned chic black pantsuit that began the show; the black matte jersey cartridge pleated deep v neck dress; the lacquer red silk faille dress; the amazing silk/wool gazar and gros de longres coats; the black double faced wool crepe vertebrae tailleur, and the white double faced sponge crepe vertebrae gown that was the finale. Volume was held in check and there wasn’t even one ‘Infanta’ in sight. Come to think of it, the only voluminous ‘gown’ in view was not only the runway (well, not quite), but worn by Andre Leon Talley: a white ‘Papal’ coat which had so much fabric, I theorized he needed 3 seats to contain it.


Photo: Isabelle Erb

By the way, the change in the show time was not the only surprise involving Ralph Rucci. Mr. Rucci is a man of many talents as we all know. What we didn’t know (well, most of us anyway) is that RR is also very much into boxing, as was reported in The Daily on Thursday. The interviewer asked Ralph how he felt about high end designers pairing with low end companies (you know, like Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney for H&M, or Isaac Mizrahi for Target, etc.) He said he thought it was basically absurd…like crafting an “Hermes bag from plastic”. I got a kick out of that because awhile back, I joked (sort of), that it would be great to see the couturier put his name on a popular and affordable brand. Maybe Ralph might change his mind sometime down the road? After all, a collaboration with Everlast, for example, would be a fitting scenario.


'Class’ic Act


Photo: Firstview.com

The Chris Lemaire for Lacoste spring/summer 2010 collection for men and women, shown yesterday morning, (dubbed ‘Out of the Blue: Simply Sporty Chic’), was an homage to the timeless and chic classics, (which in some cases were re-imagined, with proportions ‘tweaked’). It could not have been timelier considering that yesterday was Super Saturday at the U.S. Open (though a soggy one at that), and factoring in the iconic company’s history vis-à-vis the sport of tennis. And it certainly looked good. After so much black black black for this fall season, all the white which not only opened the show in the form of classic tennis whites, but showed up later by way of crisp tailored suits, sportswear separates, swimwear, and dresses, looked particularly fresh and appealing. As did all the shades of blue - varying shades traditionally associated with Provence (these were often presented in mixed hues and in mixed patterns, but with silhouettes that were simple and clean).


Photo: Isabelle Erb

Also making a statement were the crisp striped shirtings, shirtwaist dresses, polos, and the different takes on the classic French sailor striped pullover that is so ‘of the moment’. And talking about tweaking the classics, one heavily cabled ivory v neck pullover trimmed with black stripes was elongated so much it could be worn as a dress, and a black cire nylon hooded anorak, was given new life when cropped to the waist, given short wide kimono like sleeves, and paired with crisp white shorts. The finale, all in sunny fluorescent yellow (a mix of sportswear pieces and swimwear, accessorized with bright yellow sunglass frames for both the guys and the gals) was especially welcome considering the dismal, dreary, gray day outside. It was accompanied by the upbeat song, “I’m a believer”. Don’t forget: young Georgian tennis sensation, Melanie Oudin, who lost in the quarter finals last week, had the word “Believe” on her tennis sneakers. Is this any indication that Lacoste is planning to use Melanie as an endorser of their products, much like Andy Roddick?

-Marilyn Kirschner

Christian Siriano


Photo: Isabelle Erb

It would be hard to deny that Christian Siriano is in a class by himself in the ever-growing list of “Project Runaway” designers. He has parlayed his plucky personality, and natural marketing ability into a mini fashion empire. On “Fashion’s Night Out”, Siriano could be found at Saks Fifth Avenue, posing for photo after photo with his adoring fans. Those who cannot afford his ready-to-wear line at Saks can pick up a pair of his shoes at Payless.

On Saturday, Siriano debuted his third collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Those in attendance included “Project Runway” regulars like Nina Garcia as well as Hollywood actresses like Tori Spelling.

Soriano’s Spring 2010 line was inspired by the idea of Mediterranean Travel. It began with some rather over the top looks that featured wide brim hats that overpowered the earth tone pieces that they were paired with. He was much more successful with his more subtle designs that drew attention to delicately ruffled shoulders and other intricate details.

Some of the designer’s best looks featured rich volcanic or oceanic prints in deep hues of red, orange, or blue. Siriano used this print for one of his floor length gowns, which featured a bubble like skirt. The print didn’t fair as well on a form fitting body suit that looked more like a costume than a ready to wear outfit.


Photo: Isabelle Erb

Siriano has a flair for the dramatic, and this is best expressed in his eveningwear. The three gowns which closed his show featured yards of cascading layers of fabric. It was a fitting finale for a designer who has definitely arrived.

- Rhonda Erb

"The Daily Bet" by Rhonda Erb


Photo: Isabelle Erb

Designer Vivienne Tam and HP have collaborated once again on a custom-designed netbook. The “Digital Cutch” debuted last night on the runway, during Tam’s Spring 2010 fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The notebook design, like the designer’s 2010 collection is based on the Chinese love story, “Butterfly Lovers.”

Available in Spring 2010

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