“Harnessing the Truth”

BCBG Max Azria black crepe embroidered gown with black leather harness

As usual, Max and Lubov Azria unofficially kicked off Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with their spring 2013 10AM BCBG runway show, held at The Theatre, at Lincoln Center. A homage to the “fierce” femme fatale muses and high contrast of Helmut Newton’s black & white photography”, the 34 piece collection focused on the juxtaposition of hard and soft, sheer and opaque, fluid and sculptural. It was rendered almost entirely in black & white with touches of a lingerie inspired flesh toned pink.

And yes, it had a somewhat bondage, S&M feeling, which is not surprising since Helmut Newton’s iconic imagery was very “50 Shades of Grey” before there WAS “50 Shades of Grey” (come to think of it, Max could have dubbed the show “34 Shades of Gray” but truth be told, it was more elegant than kinky).

BCBG Max Azria black cotton tuxedojacket and silk crepe gown with lace detail

The predominant theme was the pairing of “work-wear with lingerie”, an idea that was achieved through the combination of tough leather with the much softer sheer lace, silk chiffon, crepe, and tulle. Leather was used throughout and other than minimalist portfolio clutches and graphic ankle- cuff heels, the statement accessory was a leather harness which appeared in both black and talc (white), often adding a graphic punch.
Skirt lengths were elongated and lean, hitting just below the knee to the floor, and other than several printed jumpsuits and a few black leather cuffed knee length shorts (which alas, did not work), there was not one pant in the collection. And there was practically no outerwear either, except for a canvas jacket in both blush and black, and a black silk cotton tuxedo jacket which was paired with a cape back light frost silk crepe gown with lace detail. As usual with this collection, there is a very specific point of view with a specific customer in mind (Lubov?!), and definitely not for everyone.

BCBG Max Azria talc crepe gown with talc leather harness

While there were times things got a bit too tricky and started to look forced and too complicated, (especially when proportions got out of hand and the lace and leather harnesses were used in conjunction with small prints), the most successful pieces were those that were rendered in graphic black & white, or were monotone. Standouts include the talc crepe shirt dress with embroidery yoke detail and talc leather harness; the aforementioned black tuxedo jacket and long dress; the talc cotton rayon apron jumper with black leather detail worn over a black lace bodysuit; the knee length black tulle and lace embroidered dress with black leather harness; the simple black crepe gown; and the finale: a talc crepe gown with slightly empire waist, worn with a talc leather harness.

Spring 2013 Tadashi Shoji black lace dress

FYI, illusion lace (minus any kinky overtones) was the theme a little later in the afternoon, at Tadashi Shoji’s runway collection where the standouts were the pieces in black, cobalt, red, and orange illusion lace, many of which featured prim lace collars.

And speaking of harnessing the truth, I was looking at show goers yesterday and many of them were bent over and hobbling on ugly shoes with ridiculously high high heels (why do women still think it’s attractive to not be able to walk?); wearing illusion see through tops, skirts, and pants (leaving nothing to the imagination in broad daylight is a big no no); sporting ill fitting, poorly made peplum tops, etc. Don’t they realize that just blindly following trends, or trying to look overtly sexy, is a shortcut to fashion disaster? It’s all about being true to yourself and finding a style that suits and flatters. And looking appropriate.

The best dressed person I saw today was a young African American woman wearing a crisp white cotton shirt dress (it fit her perfectly and hit just above the knee), accessorized with flat men’s style oxfords, and an Hermes style printed silk scarf wrapped turban like around her head. She looked chic, smart, comfortable, and effortlessly cool.

I also have to mention that I watched Roger Federer play his match at the U.S. Open on Wednesday evening (which he unfortunately lost), and saw Anna Wintour sitting in the grandstand. While most attendees are clad in t-shirts and shorts or jeans, Anna was wearing Miuccia Prada’s right off the fall 2012 runway geometric pantsuit, embellished with large stones on top (THE look of the season). I was pleasantly surprised as Anna almost never wears pants (at least not in public), choosing instead sleeveless dresses and skirts paired with a variety of jackets, coats, and furs. I thought she looked great and I was glad to see her break out of her mold.

Anna has her own specific look and while some criticize her for being too set in her ways, I personally laud her for sticking to a rigorous style and not hopping on the trend bandwagon. She is above that and she should stay above the fray, so to speak. But I’ve noticed that when she does select something very au courant, it always suits her. I can think of a few editors who should take heed and think before they wear something. Just a note: just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD!

-Marilyn Kirschner

The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

Stylish fashionistas are always looking for new ways to express themselves and those visiting the Media Lounge during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week will find colorful computer accessories that are as uniquely individual as they are. The Logitech Global Graffiti Collection consists of wireless computer mice and keyboards that come in a wide range of designs and patterns. With prices that range from $29.99to $39.99, it’s an affordable style statement.
Available at: www.logitech.com

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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