Day 6: Reviews & Notes

Michael Kors

Michael Kors first made a name for himself as a sportswear designer, not only in the United States where sportswear was dominant, but also in Europe, where it had no special cachet. But for a while sportswear or the casual look had a run in Paris too.

Kors didn’t stop developing, however, and the news this season is that he has gone far beyond the sweaters, jackets, blouses, pants and vests that once were his signature. There are now soft and lively flower prints, many arresting (but not flashy) colors and, best of all sequin, dresses. It is a well rounded collection.

The dresses are a high note. Though there is no lack of spangles in many collections today. The Kors styles are simple, mainly shifts, with cape-back collars and other unobtrusive details for interest. The hand that made his sportswear wearable but not fussy continues its work with dressy clothes. So there are no big, swathing skirts or elaborate draped effects. It is possible to dress, for evening without resorting to complex designs that are difficult to wear and often look unruly.

One of the prettiest is a lemon-colored shift that glows like sunshine. But there are more familiar all black styles as well. The beige styles from his sportswear days have not vanished, but they are paired with purple flower prints, for instance. And jackets are embellihed with fur accents, such as stoles or collars. Muted shades like olive and smoke also appear along with the lilac and purple tones.

What is especially impressive is that a sportswear designer has been able to transfer his technique to dressy clothes without losing his skill for making designs that do not envelope the wearer in elaborate dressmaking details. His sequin sheaths are as calm and satisfying looking as his cashmere cardigans.

-Bernadine Morris

Anna Sui

Anna Sui is to the fashion world what tropical fruits are for the
Northern hemisphere: unusual for many, full of colors and flavor for
all, “something different”. Not everyone likes tropical fruits. But
they give out a sense of warmth and needed energy, no matter how
dreary the day might be.

With no less than 54 designs, Anna Sui showed once again her amazing
gift for creating clothes that are a jolt of intensity and vibrancy in
an otherwise subdued palette of colors and textures as seen throughout
the course of Fashion Week Fall 2008 . No other designer matched the
refined and exquisite explosion of colors she gave the audience
viewing her Fall collection: it was all an amazing display of
creativity. Miss Sui’s constant quest for deep cultural knowledge has
led her to give us today a presentation of a folk inspired collection
that works perfectly with her love for vintage clothing and a keen
sense for trendsetting that makes her always ahead of times, one that
many in the fashion world look at for direction.

Precise and intricate accents were found in each of the 54 designs:
flowers, velvet feathers, beaded work on dresses, iridescent fabrics,
multi metallic lame fabrics, refined embroideries, patchwork details,
jacquard, it was all there, a shower of refreshing and colorful
energy.The use of true pigments in the fabrics used made for a display
of colors like never before, even in Anna Sui’s previous collections.
“Angelika” showed the beautiful combination of bold teal and
in-your-face-orange, something seldom seen in fashion. The purses
seen were as colorful as the clothes, with long fringes reinforcing
this bohemian-gone-to-town look.

Ultramarine was at its purest expression as were teal, purple, violet
and plum. The richness was to be found in the use of either plain or
burnout velvet (I counted 31 different pieces of clothing made of this
fabric) of the darkest black that helped ground almost every design in
giving out the desired effect that Miss Sui likes the most: a chic
bohemian look with just the right touch of elegance and good taste.
There was no distinct difference to be found between day and evening
wear. The designer leaves it to the wearer to take the bold step to go
out there and blend borders that, after all, have become dated and not
really needed nowadays.

Miss Sui is gifted in the sense that only she seems capable of
creating clothes that, despite their intensity and their richness, are
alluring and make the women who wear them seem uplifted and be an
uplifting sight to others. This time again, the clothes hung perfectly
on each of the models sporting them, a true testament to the fact that
Anna Sui is also a great technician that knows exactly how a design
should be tailored to fit. As a result, the clothes and their lush,
rich mix become living and pulsating frames that surround perfectly
the women wearing them. This was a constant fact through the whole

Today’s runway show was like an epiphany, the result of a continuous
and successful growth, the growth of Miss Sui’s own creative
expression as well as her success as a fashion designer. She has a
huge number of devoted and exclusive customers/fans, and has succeeded
in becoming a cult brand in a very few number of years. Each season,
her runway show is one of the most anticipated and draws crowds. Anna
Sui’s collections are sold in over 30 countries, the proof of an
extraordinary and well deserved success for the girl from Detroit who
launched her brand name in 1980 and who, for years, worked out of her

Seen in the front row were Mr. Russell Simmons (co-founder of the
pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, a founder of Russell Simmons Music
Group, and the creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm and the
fragrance label Atman) as well as Ms. Ally Hilfiger, daughter of Tommy
Hilfiger and who was once featured in the MTV reality show Rich Girls.

-Muriel Triffaut

Prada Party

Tuesday night was the screening of “Trembled Blossoms”, an original animated short, was unveiled Tuesday night in a private screening at the Prada Broadway Epicenter, the flagship store. This 4-minute film is an extension of an on going project of fashion designer, Miuccia Prada, in collaboration with architects, filmmakers, designers, and photographers.

In the Spring Summer 2008 Women’s collection that debuted in Milan last September, Miuccia integrated fabric design, a fashion show environment, site specific murals and photographic sets with the fashion show. What started as ink drawings that depict a lush landscape of flowers and nymphs evoking suggestions of Art Nouveau, Liberty, Audrey Beardsley and Heironymus Bosch have become fabric designs, wallpapers and now, an animated short. (A selection of wall papers is currently on display at the Architecture and Design gallery at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.)

This animated short is part of Prada’s commitment to experimental design. For the past 7 years, Miuccia Prada has commissioned temporary, architecture- specific wall papers, environments, short animations and interactive media for Prada Epicenters in New York, Beverly Hills and Tokyo. It is indeed admirable for a fashion designer to touch different forms of media, much like Paul Poiret during his time. Using cutting edge technology, the house of Prada is surely cementing its way into fashion and art history. That, or Prada is going Hollywood!

Great space. Great party. A good mix of people arrived around 10 p.m. to catch several screenings of the film. At 10:30 p.m., CocoRosie performed, while DJ Jeffrey Tonnesen spun music throughout the evening. Actors and actresses mingled with the cool fashion crowd – Angie Harmon, Dylan McDermot, Eric Murciano, Vincent Gallo, Amy Smart, Rose Mcgowan, Ginnifer Goodwin, Eliza Dushku, Paul Dano and Milla Jojovich

-Anna Bayle

R. Scott French

Menswear designer, R. Scott French gives good fashion for guys. Maybe because French is the kind of man who only writes with a Sanford Uni-Ball Micro Pen (black, of course). The designer also believes that “the perfect color is one that, when looked at by 10 different people will be called 10 different names” and that “floral shirts and tartan plaids are two essentials in the modern man’s wardrobe”. Well, keeping these thoughts in mind, it is easy to see why French’s perfectly stylized clothes, which were shown by a groovy group of “real” models and “model” hopefuls from the Bravo’s, “Make Me A Supermodel” and FUSE TV’s “The Sauce”, made such a statement on Sunday’s runway presentation.

Catering to a broad array of well-heeled, upwardly mobile, young (and older, we’d like to think), gentlemen (professional to rockstars), French served up something for everyone. Three separate collections – Richard Harris Felt, Ltd., R. Scott French – had their place and really did the trick,showing everything from well-crafted, classically tailored, haute luxe separates, shirts, suitings and outerwear, straight through to over-the-top groupings, which focused on clothing featuring surprises, such as lots of mismatched color, unque shape, silhouette, patterns and lots and lots of esoteric detailing. Here, eye-popping hues, short, cropped pants, trousers, a sarong or two, wild jackets and toppers and some really cool tuxedo renderings totally hit the mark.

Overall, these are super clothes for guys from a designer who believes that the “perfect orange is Pantone #021C”. Oh and by the way, French’s goody bags, which were neatly placed under each guest’s seat. were nifty. Set within a perfectly fun khaki green tote bag (which this editor has been carrying around the shows ever since receiving it), the bag shows lots of catchy sewn-on “stickers”. Inside, just the right amount of usable “gifts”, such as a great music CD, some men’s grooming products and coupons for grooming “freebies” from well-known salons around town, and an interesting, new men’s magazine, added up to a very nice little “thank you for attending the show” from French to those buyers and editors that made it to the show.

– Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

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