Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012 Collection

Ralph had a few surprises up his beautifully sculpted sleeves this season. He left his Soho atelier, came uptown to Lincoln Center for the first time since it has been the venue for New York Fashion Week, and presented his spring collection. It was also his first midday show in memory (his usual time slot had been 7PM or 8 PM).

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012 Collection

RR is in a class by himself and has always gone his own way; so it was hardly surprising that, in a season filled with so much color, so many dizzying prints and patterns, his palette was whittled down to black, white, silver, oyster, and nude with a few hits of wisteria and yellow (which he referred to as latex). The best pieces were really the most reserved and pared down in both shape and detail, and what stood out was the grouping in white wool and white matelasse with tulle or satin inserts which had the effect of cleansing the palette. His only print, an abstract in white, gray, and black, showed up only twice.

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012 Collection
Photo: Ernest Schmatolla

And then there was the use of plastic (I kept thinking of that famous line from ‘The Graduate’, when one of Ben’s well meaning family friends takes him aside to give him some advice; he said “I have only one word Ben, “Plastics”!) Clear plastic was used throughout, resulting in a space age, futuristic effect. There was a white faille dress, a white ultra suede coat, an oyster gros de longre raincoat, and a nude faille coat, all with clear plastic insets; a clear plastic trench coat was shown over a silver paillette pants ensemble, and clear plastic was used as cuffs encircling the models’ wrists. Peplums have been spotted all over, but Ralph found another way to add interest to the waist and hips:with an ‘apron’ (his was in white satin and shown over a white caviar beaded shell and pants).

Chado Ralph Rucci Spring 2012 Collection

But perhaps the best surprise was the duo of elongated dresses that looked plain, rather severe and covered up in front, but when you saw the back, it was a different story (the surprise of a paillette ‘tube’ ). The black matte jersey gown with nude paillette tube and the white wool version, with its cerise paillette tube, both drew a round of appeciative round of applause. Another crowd pleaser was the short white beaded fringe dress, which had such wonderful movement, I would think it to be the ultimate dance dress. (FYI, Ralph dedicated the spring show to the memory of Mrs Casey Ribicoff, a friend and a longtime client who epitomized chic and who passed away last month).

Michael’s Desert Storm

Michael Kors Spring 2012 Collection

Included in Michael Kors’ run of show at yesterday morning’s presentation, was a bio which opened with this quote, “From the very beginning, I was convinced you could be sexy and sporty at the same time”, Women’s Wear Daily, March 2011, (on the occasion of his company’s 30th anniversary). As if we really needed to be reminded (at a time when everyone else seems to be referencing sports) that Michael has been championing luxury sportswear, making it look effortlessly chic and sexy, since the company’s very inception. A luxe sportif feeling has been the thread throughout his collections, and it has defined his aesthetic, regardless of what the overall theme of the line might be, from one season to the next.

Michael Kors Spring 2012 Collection

Michael has been inspired by everyone from Ali MacGraw to Jacqueline Kennedy. He has visited Palm Beach, Palm Springs, Aspen, and Capri, among other places. He has been consistent (and has remained true to himself) whether proposing a polished wardrobe in urbane black and white, or endorsing off the charts, high octane acid brights. But somehow, one gets the feeling that Michael is in his element, at his most convincingly best, when he is on neutral territory, working within a range of his beloved desert shades; perfecting his signature trenches, safari jackets, ponchos, anoraks, capes, caftans; offering up his fantastic knits, rugged boots and belts, and doing it in eased up, elongated proportions..

Michael Kors Spring 2012 Collection

Such was the case yesterday with his ‘Now Voyager’ collection, inspired by a recent trip to the Lebombo Lodge in Africa. By the way, when I was going through the list of recurring themes from the runways the other day, I left out a big one: “Out of Africa”, and that was the major connective thread that ran throughout Michael’s fabulous morning show. I loved when Michael did prints. Always in keeping with the mood, they were based on nature – culled from the animal kingdom: zebra stripes, leopard spots, antelope markings and snakeskin. The hands down best was the trench coat covered in antelope markings closely resembling a graphic check.

Michael Kors Spring 2012 Collection

The models as usual, looked enviably gorgeous, tanned, and fit, with their hair pulled back in long thick braids, sauntering down the runway to the tune of Adele’s thumping “Rolling in the Deep”, and they couldn’t have looked any more comfortable thanks to their gutsy flat sandals which laced up the legs, and were finished off with buckles. The show ended with Michael taking his bow to Willie Nelson’s “On the road Again”; but wherever Michael’s travels take him, (and I guess, eventually take us), the one thing that won’t change: his consistent aesthetic.

 Ronaldus Shamask Returns to the Runway

Shamask Spring 2012 Collection
Photos: Courtesy Shamask

Speaking of nice surprises, I was Ron Shamask’s editor when I was at Harper’s Bazaar in the 80’s, and when I think of him, in addition to being a genuinely nice guy and a true talent, I think of his minimalistic, architectural designs, zippers, and the colors black, white, and gray (at the time, he was considered to be fashion’s reigning ‘monk’). Ron has not exactly been in hiding, he has a thriving business with sales totally approximately $7 million a year, a loyal clientele, and his collections are sold at stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Barneys, etc..

Shamask Spring 2012 Collection

But his show yesterday afternoon at Lincoln Center, marked the first time he has shown in conjunction with New York Fashion Week in quite some time (ten years to be exact). And his 54 piece collection for men and women, was quite a nice surprise. While black and white were hardly in short supply –notable were the black and white pleated dresses, a textural off the shoulder quilted gauze long dress in black, and a black leather long shift with infinity zipper), there was a lot of strong exuberant color throughout, and it was hardly gratuitous. It looked good and it looked convincing, and jelled perfectly with the youthful, sporty, modern vibe. The footwear of choice was a flat thong with a white sole (the colors on top varied with the clothes they were shown with).

Standouts were the “Desert Zen Spa” group, comprised of tunics, dresses, and gowns in desert tan dipped in gold hues; the terrific ecru knits shown in eased up proportions; a red double face wool carcoat shown over a lemon chiffon top and silk taffeta shorts; and what he referred to as “Piet Mondrian doing Superman”. The finale featured a black dress in leather, suede, and chiffon, with graphic splashes of cobalt blue, red, and yellow.

If I had one criticism, it was the music, which I found to be rather distracting if not annoying.

– Marilyn Kirschner

The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

The Dream Chenille Throw from Lands’ End

The forecast calls for cooler weather ahead. This plush chenille throw will keep you warm and cozy on a chilly fall evening. It’s made of soft polyester and acrylic yarns and is a generous 50” by 72”. The throw comes in seven colors and it’s machine washable.
Available at:, $69.50
Win a Lands’ End Dream Chenille Throw in Cream! Click  to enter your e-mail address, remember to put “Throw” in the subject line. Register your e-mail by 11:59 PM EDT September 22, 2011. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail.

TheraTOES and TheraPED

Fashion Week is over and long days in high heels have probably taken a toll on your feet. TheraTOES and TheraPED relieve your tired, achy feet with FeetTherma gel that can be heated or cooled for a comforting, at home spa treatment. They come in a fun zebra print and the TheraPED also has spacers to help realign toes.

Available at: , TheraTOES, $7.99: TheraPED, $9.99

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.

  1. Those at highest risk include people over age 60 and those who are overweight or have heart disease, diabetes, or respiratory problems. Being aware of the symptoms of heat illness and taking preventive measures to stay cool and hydrated are the keys to protecting against heat-related illness.

  2. The models were gorgeous with their dress. NY Fashion Week at its best. I guess nothing can beat the Big Apple when it comes to fashion week.

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