Femme in Bloom

Looking to Fall 2010, Ann Taylor is right on the money, particularly in the way the company serves up an abundance of delightful and fun clothing and accessories, all under the “Modern Luxury” headline. Co-mingling with the elegant attitude of the collection, is the company’s seasonal look-book – featuring editorial-style layouts, the British model, Karen Elson, photographed against softly-toned, studio backdrops, and descriptive copy, which portrays the collection, in part, as “inspired by the ideas of mixing European Sophistication with Timeless American Style”.

Hooking into all of this was Ann Taylor’s recent evening press event, held at the equally abundant, delightful and fun, Ace Hotel; a location which appeared to be also right in style and right on point, in order to promote the company’s clothing and accessories brand and message to the masses. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that the recently re-furbished venue, which currently seems to hold the title of boutique hotel du jour, might suggest that the powers that be at Ann Taylor were very smart in choosing this fitting type of hip, of-the-moment, setting, in order to show off its new wares, and its own, au courant image in the bargain.

Models sitting as a group

With a nod to presenting its name and offerings to the best advantage possible, this Ann Taylor event went for more of a casual, style-salon setting, via non-stop cocktails, delicious, finger foods; and of course, lots of beautiful well-groomed and well-dressed models; all having a blast of a time, chatting and laughing with each other (and the invited guests) in an array of live tableaux. For this editor, though, it really was hard to tell the guests from the models, simply because the majority of the crowd looked so pretty and so great, and as such, appeared to just blend in with the models, which perhaps was just what the company had in mind when it originally thought about and conjured up its model casting and guest list.

In the end though, aside from everything else going on here, it was the clothing and accessories that played the starring role, and in this case, mostly everything on show was cool, nouveau chic, breezy and covetable. Themes of old-world glamour and craftsmanship, the richest and socialites and European travel, all mix and mingle across a myriad of wearable coats, jackets, toppers, blouses, skirts, pants and the like.

It seems apparent that what the company’s design team favors, nearly across the board, are streamlined silhouettes and shapes, in terms of accents such as strong shoulders, feminine, nipped-in waistlines and decorative embellishments of ruffles, ruching, pleating, buttons, laces, and the like. Rounding out the collection are lush fabrics, chunked knits and sharp leathers, along with pointed and blurry prints (some of the best done here are in the company’s iconic, spotted leopard patterns). Notable is the attention to an authentic type of pretty-girl color, which generally comes across as fresh and nice, actually, especially when mixed in with all of the season’s de rigueur, expected tones of black, white, crème and greige.

Accessories certainly seem to have legs of their own, by way of the many European- themed, designer looks, which permeate this category. There are the sparkly jewels, which more often than not, are festooned to the max with Swarovski crystals, pearls, and ribboning. Then, there are all of the rich handbags and complementary footwear; the latter looking extremely strong, in terms of all of the buttery booties; high, riding boots; sporty and dressed-up flats, (many of these pieces showing more than just a hint of vintage sparkle and modern design), alongside an elegant grouping of classically stylized high heels.

Of course, an evening spent with Ann Taylor is always fun, whimsical and memorable. Other than the nifty setting, the food, drink, clothes, accessories, models, et al, there is always a lovely, parting gift. On this night, there was an elegant, black, shopping bag, featuring a fashion sketch of a pretty, long-haired, young thing, all wrapped up in a short, fitted, double-breasted coat, along with the company’s name, done in bold white lettering on the front side; filled inside, with silver wrapping paper, a look-book, the new V.V. Brown CD – “Travelling Like The Light” – and the company’s signature, sparkle estate necklace.

— 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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