50 Shades of Timeless Elegance, Lightness and Fluidity

Spring 2013 Carolina Herrera electric orange lace longuette dress
(Photos: Vogue.com)

The other day, I sort of joked that I was looking forward to see how Carolina Herrera would translate the current naughty craze of sexy bondage and S&M inspired fashion for spring 2013. Well, unsurprisingly, what was shown on her runway Monday morning at The Theatre, was about as far from that as one could possibly be. Well, almost. She did refer to it as a “flirtatious collection” AND she did use black leather (but only in the form of skinny belts).

Ivory wool crepe halter dress with skinny black snakeskin belt

The soon to be recipient of the prestigious Fashion Group International Superstar Award (www.fgi.org), to be given out October 25th (the overall heading of the evening is ‘The Dream Catchers’), is known for her timeless elegance, and, in fact, her run of show began with the heading, “Timeless Elegance”. She went on to describe spring 2013 as being all about lightness and fluidity, as exemplified by the color palette (pale blue, sea form, glacier, and ivory punched with flashes of eclectic orange) and the fabrics (layered chiffon, organza, tulle overlays, georgette, and lace). It was also graphic, via abstract prints and color blocks, and at times, ornate (thanks to embellishments and embroidery).

Ornate jacquard with three ply crepe sleeve and ornate jacquard A line shorts

The silhouette emphasized a narrow shoulder and a slightly higher waist. As for length, let’s just say it seemed to alternate between flounced shorts (done in a highly sophisticated, dressed up couture way, with beautiful blouses or structured, often embellished jackets), and long languid skirts, whether in the form of a long gown, (longuette is how she desribed them), or a separate skirt. Pleats added a sense of ease and movement. This was a decidedly and unapologetically dressed up collection, offering many options for her customers to chose from as they approach the busy spring social season.

And Carolina herself has many options to chose for her big night. My bet is that she will forego everything she showed yesterday, and opt for a signature look comprised of a crisp white shirt, and some fabulous skirt, or even a man tailored tuxedo.

Fifty Shades of Sweet 16

Yeohlee Spring 2013 Collection
(Photos: Ernest Schmatolla)

Yeohlee showed spring 2013 at her headquarters/retail space on West 38th Street. Among those who turned out were WWD’s Bobbie Queen, FIT’s Patricia Mears, the CFDA’s Steven Kolb, and Neiman’s Ken Downing. It was short, sweet, and edited down to 16 pieces, almost as short as the 25 piece Marc Jacobs show. His show lasted about 5 minutes and was basically a study in black & white, with myriad takes on bold, graphic, op art inspired stripes. (And just a note, if you haven’t already splurged on Marc’s cartoonish and over-sized fur hats, jackets with enormous jeweled buttons, or exaggerated square toed pilgrim buckle shoes, Marc’s already changed his mind so maybe you should hold off if you’re not that into it, and wait until the spring things start arriving).

Yeohlee always begins her design process with a specific point of inspiration and goes from there. This season, she describes it as the “wit and audacity of Andrew Geller’s architecture, particularly the Pearlroth double diamond beach shack nestled in the dunes of the Hamptons”. That, and the way he respected the simple life, adding a dash of whimsy to his strict geometry. To honor that aesthetic, Yeohlee was intent on practicing sustainability by using materials that are locally and internationally sourced (such as vintage stock and fabric ends).

Yeohlee’s color palette (which relied on shades of yellow, orange, lime, ocean blue) was inspired by 50’s architecture and futuristic survival tents and as usual, it is the subtle, hidden details that are important such as hidden pockets and linings. Her designs are for definitely NOT for everyone, but they ARE for confident women who feel comfortable in their own skins, and in their fashionable second skins.

Standouts are the v neck multi color silk watercolor dress with asymmetrical hem; the black & white Cutter collarless cotton printed cropped jacket, matching capris, and a white cotton top with asymmetrical shoulder tie. Other looks include the cape like loose and easy vintage pinstripe linen and white stripe jersey and vintage pinstripe linen ‘gym’ shorts; the chic misty blue (grayish) translucent trench coat (Yeohlee’s outerwear is always stellar); the textured white cotton paper seersucker dress with asymmetrical contrast hem, lined in gray, and the metallic pieces decorated with white silk satin organdy squares. The only shoe that was used, was a somewhat pointy toed flat ballerina.

50 Shades of Color and Pattern

Marimekko Runway Spring 2013
(Photos: Zimbio for Marimekko)

Marimekko (www.marimekko.com ) , the iconic Finnish company who revolutionized the textile industry with its bold, brilliant, and eye catching prints, is now in it’s 60th year (boy, doesn’t the time just fly?), so perhaps a better heading would be 60 shades of color and pattern). I have been a fan for decades (won’t tell you exactly HOW many), and have been shopping at their wonderful Flagship on 5th and 23rd Street. I recently purchased a large cotton tote in white emblazoned with over-sized black circles, a silk scarf in the same print, a bold black and white striped cross body bag, and a whole bunch of cotton napkins in black and white stripes, dots, and a graphic print.

When I saw that Marimekko was going to have a formal runway show for spring 2013 on Monday, September 10th, at the Highline Studios on West 14th street, I was curious to see what they were doing under the direction of Noora Niinikoski, head of fashion design. I was not disappointed. From the moment I walked in to the venue, I knew it would be happy, upbeat, optimistic, and brimming with color and pattern. Actually, it was literally color and pattern heaven. Every seat was covered with a Marimekko cushion in a different pattern and under every seat, there was a primary colored graphic cotton tote, containing several commemorative books inside.

Model Carmen Dell’ Orefice

Many of the guests, including Kay Unger and Alexandra Lebenthal, were dressed in Marimekko designs, both vintage and present, as a fitting homage. As for the show, the 44 pieces were inspired by color block thinking in abstract art, and the colors and patterns found in Finnish nature. The run of show spoke of the “Art of print making” and “color for a reason” (do you really NEED a reason?) The emphasis was on dresses, accessorized with matching or often mismatched patterned clogs or lace up sneakers on a platform, big brimmed hats, cotton totes, armloads of bangles, and bold, colorful resin (or plastic) necklaces. I have to say, they were very much in keeping with what Marni has been doing — but thankfully, these will undoubtedly be much more affordable.

As for the models, it was a stroke of genius on someone’s part, to include modeling icons Carol Alt, Pat Cleveland, Alva Chin, and Carmen Dell’ Orefice (she looked amazing seated front row at Chado Ralph Rucci Sunday evening, and appeared on The Today Show Monday morning). It helped reiterate the fact that when something is great, it will always be great, whether it’s a person, fashion, design, etc. And not only won’t it ever go out of style, but it should get better and better with age. By the way, when the show ended, it was a feeding frenzy as attendees grabbed every cushion that was not nailed down, and then some, before heading out the door (yes, I have to admit, moi included)

– Marilyn Kirschner

THE DAILY BET – by Rhonda Erb

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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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