‘Crimson’ Tide

No sooner do the spring collections, unveiled back in September, begin to fade from our collective memories, the fashion flock is gearing up for upcoming big fall season. In fact, I just received an email from IMGFashionPress@IMGWorld.com on behalf of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, reminding me that the shows take place February 11th–18th in Bryant Park, and inviting me to register early online at www.mbfashionweek.com/newyork.

But before fall, there is pre-fall, (I guess you can call it the ‘fall’ before THE FALL). The pre-seasons of course, have been getting more and more play each year and designers have been putting more emphasis on their lines, a few even staging runway shows. And from the look of things, while eternally chic and urbane black still ‘rules’, there have also been welcome smatterings of vibrant color, whether used as an accent or in a more ‘out there’ manner.

Black (with a touch of white and camel) was the undisputed message at Calvin Klein, where Francisco Costa’s brilliant sculptural cuts defined the deceivingly simple; so too at Zero + Maria Cornejo, and at Alexander Wang, both of whom have always embraced noir. But touches of yellow and red enlivened Karl Lagerfeld’s Chinoise accented pre-fall Collection, shown fittingly in Shanghai; Narciso Rodriguez punched up black, camel and gray with crimson in the form of chic pared down haberdashery inspired pieces; crimson and hot pink, in addition to neutral camel, played off black at Michael Kors, and punches of color (red of course) in addition to both whimsical and classic patterns, were the story at Zac Posen, who described his collection as “Lewis Carroll meets Paloma Picasso”).

And while there were some chic black silk faille and black lace embroidered dresses and gowns, plus a few black cashmere knits, scattered among the 49 pieces shown at Oscar de la Renta’s pre-fall show, (presented yesterday afternoon at his favorite venue, the très elegant 583 Park Avenue), that was hardly the only story. Au contraire, Mr. de la Renta admitted that he was concentrating on ‘special’ pieces, and thus, happy flashes of ruby, vermillion, rose, emerald green, and marigold made their appearance. In addition, there were tweed skirt suits, colorful Suzani embroidery, Ikat prints, rich mixes of texture and pattern, statement making embroidered coats, seemingly weightless cashmere silk embroidered cardigans, abbreviated bolero jackets, color block silk taffeta blouses, multi-colored embroidered patchwork sweaters, coats, pants, skirts, dresses, and accessories.

It was all ‘signature’ Oscar in its overridingly feminine, folkloric, colorful Parisian ‘jeune fille’ aesthetic, from the high heeled booties to the blown dry sleek, long straight hair, (worn half up, half down and styled by Andre Rodman for Frederick Fekkai). And it couldn’t have looked more welcome (especially considering we are in the throes of the holiday season), and a little fantasy goes a long way. The economy may still be in dour straits, but that doesn’t mean we all have to look that way.

Standouts include the textural emerald merino wool knit dress worn with a pearl grey heather cashgora embroidered coat; the canary tweed skirt and canary cloque jacket; the vermillion tweed dress with ivory wool boucle trim; the white silk chiffon embroidered gown with white cashmere silk embroidered cardigan trimmed with bleached mink; the multi-color sequin embroidered skirt suit. And then there were the embroidered patchwork pieces: the turquoise multi-color embroidered patchwork dress and vermillion cashmere embroidered cardigan; the multi color block printed silk taffeta patchwork jacket, paired with a canary silk taffeta blouse, and black denim skinny jean; and a patchwork multi color silk taffeta embroidered coat.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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