Thom Browne

Thom Browne mohair and white tulle binding exposed pleat
cardigan jacket and skirt with grey navy white rugby stripe beaver fur

Yesterday morning, there was a press preview for the Costume Institute’s Spring 2016 exhibition entitled Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (on view from May 5 through August 14). It will explore how the hand made and the machine-made work together in the creation of the haute couture and in avant-garde ready to wear.

Thom Browne white sheer tweed ensemble with bead hand
embroidered cape

The Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute is Andrew Bolton, and his life partner is Thom Browne; they have both admitted to constantly being inspired by the others’ work. It was hard not to think of the creative connection between the two last evening, when Thom presented his women’s ready-to-wear collection for fall 2016 with its emphasis on hand made embroidery, painstaking workmanship, couture like details (tulle binding, pearl insets), innovative fabrication and of course, superb tailoring. Naturally, Andrew was there, seated in the front row.

Thom Browne vertiginous tie

Against a backdrop that was meant to evoke Washington Square Park, Thom sent out a lineup that had at its base, the components of a man’s uniform (sacks trousers, sport coats, cutaway tail coats, classic chesterfields, cardigan overcoats, cardigans, oxford shirtings, rugby stripes) which were often reconstructed and re-appropriated, and put together in almost surrealistic combinations (he even used traditional men’s ties in a sculptural, surrealist manner).

Thom Browne black white mohair with grey tulle binding  exposed pleat
cardigan jacket and skirt

In addition to twill, mohair, washed silk, velvet, cashmere, and sheer tweed (redolent of Chanel), there was mink (sometimes knitted), beaver, swakara, and astrakhan (used as trim or for full on stoles and coats). Pleats (exposed pleats) were a recurring theme and comprised some of the best pieces. In addition to Thom’s quirky signature doggie bags (perfectly timed with the Westminster Dog Show), he accessorized with chic structured black crocodile bags with gleaming gold hardware and natty oxfords (I especially loved the ones in graphic and gleaming red, white, and blue patent leather.)

– Marilyn Kirschner

Zac Posen 

Fall/Winter 2016 Collection
All photos: Lieba Nesis

Zac Posen showed his Fall Winter 2016 collection at Spring Street Studios on Monday February 15th on a snowy, cold evening. However, nothing could prevent the vast crowd from attending this “fashion happening” with Ken Downing, Fern Mallis, Amy Fine Collins, Pat Cleveland and June Ambrose just a few of the elite who trekked through the snow. Posen is a 35-year-old fashion wunderkind who won the Swarovski Perry Ellis Award for Womenswear in 2004 and continues to be a favorite of celebrities such as Rihanna, Sofia Vergara, Dita Von Teese and Amber Heard. He has appeared as a judge on Project Runway and frequently attends galas and award ceremonies with a celebrity counterpart on his arm.

Navy Cashmere Cape and Vest with Cashmere Turtleneck & Trousers

His mermaid structured gowns are his signature design and many have compared him to the great Charles James.  After experiencing financial hardship in 2010, Posen went into “survival mode” and scaled back on the extravagance of his productions. Nevertheless, I was anticipating a show filled with elaborate gowns and gimmicky designs but was surprised when a demure, staid collection was shown akin to Thakoon or Ann Taylor. Posen stated that the inspiration for the clothing was Princess Elizabeth of Toro who achieved fame for her kindness, beauty and intellect. This “royal collection” contained a color palette focusing on jewel tones- including crimson, jade, grey and blue. The muted colors and severe hairstyles were a bit disappointing, especially when coupled with the gloomy weather.

Burgundy and Rust Floral Cotton Capelet with Crystal
Embroidered Matching gown

The collection opened with an oxblood cashmere wool coat coupled with cropped trousers and a turtleneck in the same color. The tailoring was immaculate, and this look was “elite royalty meets soccer mom,” proving practical for women of all ages and professions. Posen continued showing various iterations of this oxblood color on models who had shaved or shorn hair. This wintery look was in sharp contrast to the vast array of floral dresses in purples and blues which were summery and pleasant, but ill-suited for a winter collection. His asymmetrical hems and sleeves were perfectly executed with the expertise of a design aficionado – someone who understands his craft. The drapings of his dresses were impeccable; however, they lacked the wow factor of his Academy Award gowns. There was a fluidity and delicateness to his black floor length dresses with the models ethereally floating down the runway.

Black stretch cady wrap shoulder capelet gown
with hand-embroidered glass bead

The skirts and dresses were mostly three-quarter length, an interesting choice especially when compared with his cropped trousers. My favorite look of the evening was the navy floor-length vest with a midnight cashmere cape paired with navy pants; this was dramatic show-stopping elegance at its best. Cady was used on much of the attire to provide a comfort and elasticity to the fabrics and the ease of the garments were readily apparent. Some of the grey and burgundy blazers were boxy and militaristic with an austereness that conjured up a Jane Austen novel. The last dress of the 47-piece ensemble was a black stretch cady wrap shoulder capelet gown with hand-embroidered glass bead trim-a perfect synopsis of the entire presentation: elegant, fluid, understated and most importantly comfortable.

Lieba Nesis

My love of fashion, writing and photography were something that always dominated my lifestyle however it wasn't until I was approached by the editor of Lookonline that I realized I could utilize these three skills in combination.

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