Every season, the Herve Leger by Max Azria label capitalizes on the legacy of its famed bondage or bandage dresses and separates. And just when you thought there were no other ways to interpret the formula, move it forward, and make it relevant, a great idea appears (and it’s usually predicated on whatever the ‘in’ mood or ‘thing’ is of the moment). Last season it was denim (duh!) and this time around, it’s another duh!!! The “speed of street athleticism” is how the show notes put it.
Well, considering the Vancouver Winter Olympics are under way, and on Saturday night, Apolo Anton Ohno speed skated to his silver medal. I’d have to say that one is totally “of the moment”. In fact, some of the pieces closely resembled neoprene second skin scuba wear what with the flashes of neon pink and green, mixed in with black, and in the opening group, lacing actually followed the contour of the body, as if to highlight what a perfectly formed, athletic body should look like. Regardless, the collection on Sunday, a study in white, shades of gray, nude, and black, was one of the best efforts by Herve Leger for Max Azria in terms of conception, realization, modern techniques, and aerodynamic details.
It’s still hard to ponder how amazing a body one would need to even think of wearing one of these creations (let along think of even trying one on in a two or three way mirror). And as I watched the models come out in 32 different (well..sort of) variations on the second skin, body armor theme, including some which bore cross laced panels, textured prints, and enameled surfaces, teetering no less, on their mile high platform ‘slash’ booties, I wondered how they can manage to not only look amazing but actually keep their balance and be graceful (hey, that’s why they get the ‘big bucks’).
Glitter, sparkle, and shine, seem to be one of the trends of the coming season and glittery sparkly tweeds have been spotted on several runways. Doo Ri showed glittery tights, as did Rebecca Taylor, who layered them beneath her already multi layered ensembles. There’s usually a lot (and a lot of stuff) going on ON the runway of a Rebecca Taylor show and this time was no exception (feathers, ruffles, mufflers, prints, etc., all at the same time); but this time she showed more restraint and it paid off. Best pieces were the faux leopard and jaguar abbreviated coats which were tossed over white tux shirts and pleated front trousers; an abbreviated leopard puffer jacket; a salt and pepper tweed pantsuit featuring a fitted jacket; a short belted camel cape coat; an olive washed twill trench coat; an olive washed twill jacket with faux fur collar which was shown with a bow print silk dress with ruffle hem and striped muffler; the feather trimmed teal blue washed organza dress shown beneath a hand knit sweater.
Lela is ‘Moon’ Struck
Lela Rose was inspired by the craggy shattered landscape of the moon and earth and nature’s various surface textures recalling the romantic concept of nature’s brilliance, according to her show notes. If nothing else, this was obvious in the names given to the colors, fabrics, and pieces on her fall collection. For example, there was a constellation dot print, a sulfur (actually pea green) double face wool coat and jacket, a liquid sulfur folded tank, a midnight moon rock embroidered dress, a night sky embroidered gown, an asteroid silk one shouldered dress, etc. I think you get the picture. While there were some narrow or abbreviated jackets shown with sweaters and trousers, as well as cardigan jackets and skirts, the emphasis was unmistakably on the dress, which was shown in primarily short (above the knee) versions except for three at the end. And they looked quite good thanks to shapes and cuts that were interesting without being contorted or overly exaggerated.
And by the way, even her shoe collection for Payless (with its celestial and moon rock textural vibe) was replete with the natural lunar-earth references.
Hi Ho Silver
Remember last year when gray was proclaimed the ‘new black’? Yeah, well nothing can take the place of black ever, but gray does come pretty darn close. And no wonder. It’s neutral, chic, easy to wear, easy to mix with other colors, and it’s ubiquitous and readily available at every price point. Coincidentally (or not), or the 36 pieces designed by Raul Melgoza for Luca Luca, (now in his 4th season and hitting his stride) the items that looked the best to me were all rendered in various shades of gray or silver. This included two chic trenches, one in silver silk taffeta and the other in reversible gray silk shantung and lacquered silk, the grey silk brocade lame and wool knit cocktail dress, the grey sapphire tiered mink and sueded coat thrown over a gray stretch wool skirt, and two gowns at the end -a slate gray lame with black beaded bra bodice and a bias cut silver liquid lame gown.
Diane Von Furstenberg admitted “I always wanted to live a man’s life in a woman’s body” and this quote basically said it all about her fall line, which was certainly ‘very’ DVF from start to finish. One could easily imagine the CFDA president wearing much if not most of the 43 pieces shown yesterday afternoon. It was very true to form and very signature, and of course, Diane has always been outspoken about having a yin and yang, masculine and feminine duality – that is nothing new.
Lately, I’ve been seeing her well cut natty blazers hanging on the racks of stores like Barneys, and they look good. They must be selling because there were quite a few interpretations of the blazer (including one in metallic tweed shown with a cream organza dress, another in black felted wool which was paired with a nude plisse blouse and glitter jacquard skirt, and yet another in black leather, which was thrown over a sheer georgette blouse and black leather trousers). In her show notes, Diane described the blazer as a perfect ‘uniform’ and in each case, it was counterbalanced against something much
Similarly, Diane’s chunky hand knit cardigans (another signature) were paired with items equally unexpected. (the hunter green merino wool knit sweater shown with an abstract printed chiffon dress was a good example). Speaking of prints, DVF has known to be a print fan from the beginning and her graphic prints (done in vibrant shades), certainly made a statement. Unsurprisingly, there was plenty of glitter and shine coming not only from the use of metallics, but in the form of crystal cording, tinsel, chainmail, and sequins. The use of the latter on tailored pieces (like the midnight sequined knit cardigan and wool coat) was effective. By the way, what was interesting is that for a woman known for her dresses, this collection had more separates than usual, though that does not mean dresses were not important.
In a season where leather is ‘king’, her black leather bustier dress featuring a full knee length skirt with textural open work, stood out. FYI: out of the 43 pieces, there was only one wrap dress (in black jersey organza), and it came out near the end.
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