“If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium”

Day 3

And if it’s 7 pm at the Tents, on the final night of New York Fashion Week, this must be Ralph Rucci, right? Wrong. Talk about disorienting. Not only is fashion week going from Thursday to Thursday this season, rather than Friday to Friday, as it traditionally has, but there were a number of changes to the show schedule early on, which really threw things off kilter for many of us. I know it did for me.

Chado Ralph Rucci has long held the coveted spot as the ‘official’ last show of the season, and given the beauty of the collection, and the tremendously unique and rarefied talent of Mr. Rucci, all of us have considered it a bona fide treat and the perfect high note with which to end the week. But this season, his show was held on Saturday evening at 7 pm, at the Tent at Bryant Park. When I exited, I couldn’t help but feel as though the week was over even though it’s only just begun. Oh well, I guess one can argue it’s a wonderful way to start the week.


The collection was undeniably remarkable, hitting all the high notes, and including the myriad themes and references that have come to define RR’s oeuvre and aesthetic (the detailed insets, the hand sewn blocks of wool crepe sewn onto tulle panels, the braids of leather and silk woven together, the incorporation of textures found in traditional basket weaving, the references to human anatomy, the homage to Japanese culture, the use of feathers and horsehair, etc.) It was signature Ralph, and I couldn’t help but think the song playing in the background, with the words, “Stop trying to change me; I am what I am”, was meant to reiterate that fact to the show attendees.


But of course, the design process is always about refining, improving, and evolving, especially for a perfectionist like Ralph. This season, the late Pina Bausch’s “personal style and nonconformist choreography” served as strong points of reference throughout (still photographs from her performances were amazingly screened onto silk gazar creating strong, graphic visuals). And this season, Ralph was palpably more controlled, and more ‘low keyed’ than other seasons, and rather ‘reserved’. There was no haute couture shown, only ready-to-wear, (which, for RR is practically one in the same anyway). In place of beads and crystals, silk tulle and chiffon were shredded and sculpted into layers, enabling him to actually create his own fabrics and his own vocabulary of textures.

Quite frankly, it was some of the ‘simpler’ items that really stood out: like the perfectly proportioned chic black pantsuit that began the show; the black matte jersey cartridge pleated deep v neck dress; the lacquer red silk faille dress; the amazing silk/wool gazar and gros de longres coats; the black double faced wool crepe vertebrae tailleur, and the white double faced sponge crepe vertebrae gown that was the finale. Volume was held in check and there wasn’t even one ‘Infanta’ in sight. Come to think of it, the only voluminous ‘gown’ in view was not only the runway (well, not quite), but worn by Andre Leon Talley: a white ‘Papal’ coat which had so much fabric, I theorized he needed 3 seats to contain it.

By the way, the change in the show time was not the only surprise involving Ralph Rucci. Mr. Rucci is a man of many talents as we all know. What we didn’t know (well, most of us anyway) is that RR is also very much into boxing, as was reported in The Daily on Thursday. The interviewer asked Ralph how he felt about high end designers pairing with low end companies (you know, like Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney for H&M, or Isaac Mizrahi for Target, etc.) He said he thought it was basically absurd…like crafting an “Hermes bag from plastic”. I got a kick out of that because awhile back, I joked (sort of), that it would be great to see the couturier put his name on a popular and affordable brand. Maybe Ralph might change his mind sometime down the road? After all, a collaboration with Everlast, for example, would be a fitting scenario.

‘Class’ic Act

The Chris Lemaire for Lacoste spring/summer 2010 collection for men and women, shown yesterday morning, (dubbed ‘Out of the Blue: Simply Sporty Chic’), was an homage to the timeless and chic classics, (which in some cases were re-imagined, with proportions ‘tweaked’). It could not have been timelier considering that yesterday was Super Saturday at the U.S. Open (though a soggy one at that), and factoring in the iconic company’s history vis-à-vis the sport of tennis. And it certainly looked good. After so much black black black for this fall season, all the white which not only opened the show in the form of classic tennis whites, but showed up later by way of crisp tailored suits, sportswear separates, swimwear, and dresses, looked particularly fresh and appealing. As did all the shades of blue – varying shades traditionally associated with Provence (these were often presented in mixed hues and in mixed patterns, but with silhouettes that were simple and clean).

Also making a statement were the crisp striped shirtings, shirtwaist dresses, polos, and the different takes on the classic French sailor striped pullover that is so ‘of the moment’. And talking about tweaking the classics, one heavily cabled ivory v neck pullover trimmed with black stripes was elongated so much it could be worn as a dress, and a black cire nylon hooded anorak, was given new life when cropped to the waist, given short wide kimono like sleeves, and paired with crisp white shorts. The finale, all in sunny fluorescent yellow (a mix of sportswear pieces and swimwear, accessorized with bright yellow sunglass frames for both the guys and the gals) was especially welcome considering the dismal, dreary, gray day outside. It was accompanied by the upbeat song, “I’m a believer”. Don’t forget: young Georgian tennis sensation, Melanie Oudin, who lost in the quarter finals last week, had the word “Believe” on her tennis sneakers. Is this any indication that Lacoste is planning to use Melanie as an endorser of their products, much like Andy Roddick?

-Marilyn Kirschner

Christian Siriano

It would be hard to deny that Christian Siriano is in a class by himself in the ever-growing list of “Project Runaway” designers. He has parlayed his plucky personality, and natural marketing ability into a mini fashion empire. On “Fashion’s Night Out”, Siriano could be found at Saks Fifth Avenue, posing for photo after photo with his adoring fans. Those who cannot afford his ready-to-wear line at Saks can pick up a pair of his shoes at Payless.

On Saturday, Siriano debuted his third collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Those in attendance included “Project Runway” regulars like Nina Garcia as well as Hollywood actresses like Tori Spelling.

Soriano’s Spring 2010 line was inspired by the idea of Mediterranean Travel. It began with some rather over the top looks that featured wide brim hats that overpowered the earth tone pieces that they were paired with. He was much more successful with his more subtle designs that drew attention to delicately ruffled shoulders and other intricate details.

Some of the designer’s best looks featured rich volcanic or oceanic prints in deep hues of red, orange, or blue. Siriano used this print for one of his floor length gowns, which featured a bubble like skirt. The print didn’t fair as well on a form fitting body suit that looked more like a costume than a ready to wear outfit.

Siriano has a flair for the dramatic, and this is best expressed in his eveningwear. The three gowns which closed his show featured yards of cascading layers of fabric. It was a fitting finale for a designer who has definitely arrived.

– Rhonda Erb

“The Daily Bet” by Rhonda Erb

Designer Vivienne Tam and HP have collaborated once again on a custom-designed netbook. The “Digital Cutch” debuted last night on the runway, during Tam’s Spring 2010 fashion show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The notebook design, like the designer’s 2010 collection is based on the Chinese love story, “Butterfly Lovers.”

Available in Spring 2010

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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