Just like the recent weather, what has been shown on the runways during New York Fashion Week for fall 2010 thus far, could best be described as a ‘wintry mix’ (you can take that any way you want to but what I mean is there’s been a little of this, a little of that, and everything in between) -- and that continued on Tuesday.
When the lights were dimmed at Badgley Mischka, (the first show in the morning), it was impossible to see the show program and everything else for that matter. The first outfit out, a rather subtle black matte jersey jumpsuit, followed a parade of 15 evening dresses and gowns, most of which glittered and shone in the dark, and given names normally associated with the sky and outer space. (a ‘cerulean’ matte jersey gown, a claret/cassis/Bordeaux galaxy gown, a gold tulle constellation gown, and a nude chiffon nebula dress). Apparently, Mark & James have been star gazing and are taken with the beauty in the galaxy; there in lies the inspiration for their line.
When the lights came on, I thought that was the end of the show, but I was wrong. Numbers 16 through 44 represented items from their new collection, Mark & James, and though I thought that’s where the daytime pieces would be, I was wrong again. Other than a few unembellished, fairly simplified pieces at the beginning (such as a black wool tunic sweater, a black suede dress and tissue jersey top, and several wool sweaters), almost everything else was geared towards evening.
Or perhaps a better way to put it, was that the line seemed perfectly geared for that young woman who is going straight from work to the clubs (or not going to work at all), because there was a distinctive club vibe, not only in the color palette (almost all black except for some gray and cream), but in the abbreviated lengths, the shiny second skin leggings (pewter glazed lace or lace jacquard), and the liberal use of tulle fringe, sequins, chain, mesh, glazed lace, faux leather and leather, and faux fur. It was also hard to ignore the thumping club music which served as the soundtrack for the show.
The Bride Wore Black
Vera Wang came back home for the last time, to the Bryant Park Tents, after showing in her Soho shop for a few seasons. But instead of using the large Tent venue (where she had traditionally shoed), she opted for the smaller Promenade. There were still plenty of empty seats. The run of show revealed that the title of the collection was 'The Bride Wore Black' (boy, it’s hard to remember that Ms. Wang began eons ago as a bridal wear designer), and Ms. Wang said that she used the Film Noir as a contemporary metaphor for youth, romance and sophistication tinged ever so slightly with a sense of mystery.
Let’s face it, black and (and gray) are known to be Vera's favorite colors (I don't think I've seen her wear anything else) so it's not surprising that an entire collection would be similarly hued. The first look out, a sharply tailored black dry wool twill jacket with prominent organza 'corsage' at the shoulder, shown over a black dry wool paperbag pant and jersey tank, set the mood and was a harbinger of other changes to come (we don’t normally associate strict menswear tailoring with Vera). When one sees a Vera Wang Show, there are always the signature staples (Vera is very consistent and has a ‘look’), and there were plenty of those signature touches: the twisted jersey dresses, asymmetrically draped tops, faille boleros with organza rosette appliqués, tulle appliqués, illusion dresses with iridescent sequined panels, structured yet loose coats with short sleeves, asymmetry, the use of long leather gloves, and other such Vera-isms.
The pieces that surprised and stood out, included the coated black fringed coat (leather?), several heavy wool twill coats with Mongolian lamb trim (on the hem of one, on the short sleeves of another); the Charcoal Mongolian lamb fur pocket scarf; an architecturally draped white linen voile top that reminded me of something Gianfranco Ferre might have done decades ago; and those strictly tailored jackets and coats with roots in menswear.
Examples: the black felt Nehru cutaway jacket shown over a jersey harness dress; the black heather felt and heavy wool twill cutaway jacket with grey faille and sequined corsage at the shoulder; and my favorite: the charcoal felt boyfriend’s blazer with cutaway back shown over charcoal wool knit zip front jumpsuit with tuxedo stripes. Oh, I forgot to mention that Vera used not one chain anywhere on the line. Instead, she used massive ropes of teeny tiny seed pearls (not only around the neck, filling in bare necklines, but on both wrists, making it appear as an oversized pearl cuff from the distance.
Remember what I said about Carolina Herrera being PETA’s number one enemy this season? Scratch that. My vote goes to Dennis Basso, who freely combined the most luxurious of furs, leather, alligator, and fabric, and pulled no stops in his decidedly dressed to the nines fall 2010 fur collection which he says was inspired by the ‘great sculpture of Venus de Milo” and “represents the strong, statuesque, elegant woman”. Certainly, it would take one of those to pull off much of the Russian broadtail, natural Russian Barguzine sable, Arctic Finnish raccoon, natural cross fox, hand painted velvet chinchilla, etc. coats, jackets, vests, which were shown in oft times voluminous proportions with large face framing collars, and were paired with everything from charmeuse and liquid wool dresses, and wool knit skirts hitting just below the knee, to floor length embroidered lace gowns.
One interesting touch considering the popularity of anything military inspired, (not to mention the popularity of army green), was the grouping dyed in evergreen and paired with tonal ready to wear pieces. Examples: an evergreen chinchilla and fox coat shown with a khaki wool skirt and top; an evergreen chinchilla fox and leather jacket shown with a matching colored wool knit skirt and top; an evergreen ermine and sable elongated vest with outsized pockets, shown with an evergreen wool knit draped gown; a fitted evergreen alligator coat with massive fox cuffs, shown over an evergreen wool knit skirt and top. Once again, platform shoes accessorized and on this runway, some of those by Ruthie Davis (complete with diamante ‘spikes’) looked as though they could pass for a dangerous weapon.
Variations on a Theme
To say that the Max Azria show had one specific point of view (that played out over and over again), is an understatement. In fact, the entire collection was understated (and lean). The program notes said the show was a “minimalistic journey of clean lines and artful tailoring” And that aesthetic (an artistic personal approach to pared down minimalism), for a lack of a better description, could not have been more opposite from say, the over the top, in your face luxury quotient on view at Carolina Herrera on Monday. So, if your idea of fashion heaven and your definition of ‘modern’ is clean lines, organic elements, weightless volume, and individualistic style, Max Azria would be your label of choice for the next season.
There was not one print, one bright color (the dusty mineral toned palette was limited to black, nude, taupe, beige, various shades of gray, dark moss), and unlike other runways, surface ornamentation was kept to a bare minimum (and I mean that literally -- subtle black beaded details appeared at the end on a group of black crepe dresses). Fabrics were mixed for day (leather, crepe, knit, wool felt, wool boucle, mesh), and evening (almost all black) was primarily done in silk georgette, ribbed knit, and crepe. Like elsewhere, a platform boot, was the footwear of choice.
- Marilyn Kirschner
The Daily Bet
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