New York Fashion Week Notes: Calvin Klein & Ralph Lauren

Pure and Simple

Calvin Klein Fall 2012 Collection
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 The trouble with ending Fashion Week with Calvin Klein, is that Francisco Costa’s collections are always the end result of such purity of design unfettered by anything extraneous (which at first glance might LOOK simple yet we all know that is hardly the case), that it is hard to compare with anything else. Yesterday’s show (there were two back-to-back presentations held on West 39th Street), spoke volumes about volume – a controlled volume that was inherent in the couture like construction of each piece. The predominant silhouette was waist defined, curved hip, rounded sleeve, and contoured bodice. It was a very concise, strong, and powerful statement.

The 33 looks played out primarily in midnight (so dark it looked like black), onyx, parchment, and flint, with flashes of poppy, sienna, and cerise. There were hefty fabrics such as technical wool and wool tweed, shaved shearling, glazed/wool and mohair, plongee (a thick scuba like fabric that resembles leather), an embroidered on laser cut wool that imparted surface interest, and knotted silk.

As on almost every other runway, the coat was the pivotal piece. The first outfit out, in this case, it was a collarless knee length beauty in midnight glazed/wool and mohair, belted with a wide hammered silver belt which further accentuated the waist and added the perfect amount of glistening shine. It was accessorized with onyx alligator flared heel pumps. The flared heel pumps (in alligator or polished calf, and flared heel black alligator boots, appeared throughout. Other standouts were the poppy technical wool tweed coat, the sienna glazed wool and mohair belted coat with inverted pleats, the onyx pebbled and the high neck parchment bonded wool crepe coat with shaved shearling.

The dress was also KEY: they were in the same fabrication and benefited from the same amazing techniques and construction as the outerwear. In some instances, the placement of seams, the combination of fabric, the employment of sheer panels made the difference. Day and evening were almost the same, although the all onyx finale included several embroidered laser cut wool dresses (whose surface interest approximated paillettes), ending with three dresses in knotted silk embroidery, featuring contoured bodices or open backs, and slightly longer lengths. Rooney Mara, the beautiful, young Oscar nominee for ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, (and someone who is considered to be a real fashion star with her own individual sense of style) was at the 2 PM show, and it might be a safe bet that she will be wearing one of Francisco’s dresses when she attends the upcoming Academy Awards later this month.

Ralph’s Gold Mine

Ralph Lauren Fall 2012 Collection
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The invitation to Ralph Lauren’s fall show (black with gold lettering), was a dead give away that this would be a theme at Friday morning’s show.  While it was certainly not the whole story, there was a strong statement made in black and gold, whether a subtle one, or not so subtle. Gold beads completely decorated the front of a black cashmere turtleneck which was shown with a black glove leather pleated skirt, and accessorized with black suede platform sandals accented with gold, and a black calfskin clutch with gold hinged handle.

A gold beaded on black tulle cardigan was shown over a white broadcloth pique shirt, worn with black wide legged pleated front pants, accessorized with black suede platform sandals with gold mesh detail; a gold dusted black shearling jacket was thrown over a gold chiffon beaded evening dress; an ostrich feather cape in black and gold, was the perfect cover up for a fluid black satin evening dress; and the finale was a gold lame evening dress.

 But Ralph’s true “gold mine” ( what he does best and could easily be his signature) was summed up by the strong opening group: perfect put togethers comprised of impeccably tailored jackets, great coats and wrap coats, jodphurs, boy trousers wide legged pleated front trousers, and fitted cashmere lambswool fair isle sweaters, rendered in mixes of his beloved fabrics (herringbone, houndstooth, heather tweed, windowpane, chalk stripes, and heather tweed), played out in warm shades of camel and brown with a few hits of color. Jaunty caps, white cotton club collar shirts with ties, high heeled burnished leather ghillies and monk strap shoes, polished calf small doctors bags or alligator attaches and briefcases provided the finishing touches.

True standouts were the narrow brown ocelot printed shearling coat which was layered over a taupe cashmere lambswool fair isle sweater; a light green striped cotton shirt with club collar, and camel and brown cashmere glen plaid plus fours. Other ‘vintage’ Ralph pieces: the black beaded leather motorcycle worn with green tartan slim boy trousers and white cotton broadcloth shirt; the black fluid velvet smoking robe with scarlet shearling collar worn with black chalkstripe flannel wide legged trousers and the black polished bonded leather wrap coat.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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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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