Day 7: Reviews & Notes

Zac Posen

It was Thursday evening at the Bryant Park tents and that means the night belonged to the spectacle that is the Zac Posen fashion show. Guests began lining up more than an hour before the eight o’clock event , (each one clutching a black cardboard invitation) ,eagerly awaiting the presentation of Posen’s Fall/Winter 2008 collection. The show attracts a wide ranging crowd, from teenagers all the way to more venerable fashion aficionados.

As the throngs made their way into the Tent, in a mini stampede of sorts, the scene became fraught with activity. Photographers, some more agitated than others, jockeyed for positions and the runway was filled with VIP’s, paparazzi, and the glare of cameras flashing. More than a few arguments could be heard over seating assignments.

Some of fashion’s heaviest hitters (Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, Suzy Menkes, and Carine Roitfeld) lined the runway, as the show got under way. The first pieces were tuxedo inspired dresses and separates in black and white, some with red accents or sequins. There were several French inspired looks; the aptly named French lace tops and a suit worn with several strands of beads that appeared to be a nod to Chanel. The knee length ruffle dresses, in soft feminine colors, with their full skirts were reminiscent of French can can skirts. Posen drew inspiration from British menswear as well, in the form of his Prince of Wales schoolboy suit and schoolgirl jacket and skirt.

The highlight of a Zac Posen show is always his gowns, and this one was no exception. These gowns were the stuff of fairytales, most with voluminous full skirts, that would have made Scarlett O’Hara jealous. The colors ranged from framboise and dove grey to deepest navy and black.

The models walked gingerly throughout the show on high platform shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood. This posed a problem as the last model, Karen Elson, came down the runway in the pale grey “dove gown”. She tripped and fell and had to be helped to her feet by another model heading in the opposite direction. Ms. Elson handled the situation with considerable aplomb, posing at the end of the runway for photographers and returning arm in arm with Mr. Posen for the finale.

– Rhonda Erb

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca Taylor’s runway show at the Promenade on Thursday February 7th
was a fine exercise of rigor and expressive creativity subtly
combined, resulting in a collection full of colors and very well
defined lines.

The show started with an alluring ensemble of a grey melton jacket
paired with a black dress full of blossoming flowers: the tone was
set. The 28 designs shown were predominantly in a grey and black color
palette, with flowers almost everywhere.

Miss Taylor has been perfecting her craft and expanded her talent
since she showed her first runway collection in 1999. Today’s show was
evidence of her flair for giving women with the appropriate body type
a truly feminine side while sharpening the overall design with
rigorously designed and tailored jackets and coats.

The affluence of the floral motif was proof that Rebecca Taylor is
going nowhere without creating designs that speak of the feminine
essence and its delicate side. As seen in her collections of the past,
the clothes indicated the creator’s predilection for a flowing , lofty
style. The designer likes to pair the delicate dresses, blouses and
skirts with very structured pieces that are sharp, yet an
easy-to-the-eye contrast with the flowing designs of her tiered and
layered dresses.

The whole collection had a decidedly victorian flavor opposed with
very modern pieces such as a leopard cardigan. It made for an odd
combination that may be what Miss Taylor’s followers enjoy wearing.

One thing was obvious after having seen the whole runway collection:
despite her innate ability to channel all that is feminine throughout
her designs, Miss Taylor’s creative expression is limited to the women
who can wear her clothes, and only a certain type can, without looking
too frilly and ornate to an excess.

-Muriel Triffaut

Custo Barcelona

How to describe an extraordinary and unique exercise of fashion design?

No numbered listing of the clothes at Custo Barcelona’s Fall 2008
Runway show on Thursday February 7th. Simply a piece of paper
explaining that Custo Barcelona’s vision for Fall 2008 is one that is
” a mix of the past, present and future”.

The show was unlike any other….vibrant and lush colors abounded,
unusual and incomparably textured fabrics as well, perfectly done
tailoring, unique et intricate details…. Custo Barcelona’s runway
collection was a fascinating and prodigious procession of clothes that
had too many qualities to be listed. With 67 designs for women and 16
for men, brothers Custo and David Dalmau made this Thursday evening
one of enchantment that left many in the audience amazed by the
presentation. The brothers always prove an exceptional talent for
creating clothes that give out an undeniable sense of magic.

The men’s clothes resonated with a gentrified and city oriented dandy
style. They were the result of many influences, past, present, and
future brought together at once.

With the women’s clothes, Custo Barcelona created – or is it
recreated?- the past with pieces such as a long velvet coat printed
with large scale leaves and a fur collar, a nostalgic ode to the
colorful seventies. An other design showed a very deliberate and
structured 80s style with a one button jacket paired with a
close-to-the-body leather skirt. The present was purposefully
expressed with all the hues and types of fabrics seen all over during
Fashion Week: metallic fabrics, velvet, appliques, plum, silver….
Everything was brilliantly displayed with uncommon designs and styles
that only this creative team could have imagined. As for the future,
it resonated strongly with breathtaking clothes made of very unusually
textured fabrics.

All the clothes were a precise exercise of highly refined and
detailed tailoring as is always the case with Custo Barcelona.
Of course, not everyone can wear Custo Barcelona. It is a most daring
and risk taking option to wear the creations. It clearly targets a
worldly and up-to-date modern environment and state of mind with a
streak for strong and numerous cultural echoes. But for those who can
and will, reward comes in the way of how unique and beautiful they can
make one feel and look.

-Muriel Triffaut

Reem Acra

Reem Acra, the designer who is probably best known for her sumptuous bridal collections and evening wear, is a favorite with brides and celebrities. Ms. Acra believes in using luxurious fabrics, in rich colors, and she pays meticulous attention to detail. This was apparent in her Fall 2008 collection which was filled with romantic clothes that epitomized her philosophy.

My favorite pieces were the jewel-toned dresses, both long and short, that were elegantly draped on the bodice, and skirts, giving them a Grecian feel. Also notable were the metallic seperates and bright gold prints, as well as the peep toe shoes worn by the models. Fabrics included silk charmeuse, taffeta, and chiffon in colors of blue, aubergine, mustard, and forest green. Ms. Acra’s gowns were particularly beautiful, especially the tulle embroidered strapless in deep red and the silk sequin gown in antique gold.

Reem Acra invited her guests to be carried away to her mysterious and indefinable world. I, for one, enjoyed the trip.

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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