NY Fashion Week Notes: Final Day

Spring Is ‘Bust’ing Out All Over

Spring 2013 Calvin Klein reed silk cotton mirelle bustier
(Photos: Vogue.com)

Francisco Costa officially ended Mercedes Benz Fashion Week yesterday afternoon with his spring 2013 Calvin Klein collection. He did so on an upbeat, high note — as usual. A true minimalist whose work defines the architectural oeuvre, he consistently proves to be a master of cut, shape, silhouette, fabrication, and proportion, and his latest effort was yet another example of his expertise.

Working in a signature color palette of black, white, ivory, reed, putty, and ether, he threw in a shade that was called ‘acid’, but it was hardly neon.  The collection was undeniably provocative and erotic, but it was also rather subtle with the overall effect remaining elegant and architectural. (Quite frankly, the only thing NOT subtle, is the overall effect achieved, Francisco’s flawless taste level, and his formidable talent).

Black double faced matte satin conical bustier and scoop neck dress

The emphasis was on the bust, and that was achieved through the use of conical bustiers and corsets throughout. Continuing on with the lingerie inspired undertone was Francisco’s inspired use of abstract and guipure lace, (both black & white), and they formed the bases for a group of dresses. It was pointed out that this collection had some of the shortest dresses the designer has presented thus far – there was nothing long. In addition to the bust, the leg, and the waist were focal points.

Ether double faced matte satin double breasted coat black silk crepe ankle zip pant

Double faced matte satin, moire, mesh silk crepe, silk/satin, silk/cotton, basket weave silk gazar, birds eye embroidered moire, and silk crepe organza formed the basis for dresses, masterful coats (they had high slits in the back to allow for ease of movement), and jackets, which were shown with skirts or cropped pants. The jackets were standouts and they benefited from details such as the addition of a ‘fin’ in back, or a peplum like flare (just when I thought I could not bear to look at anything resembling a peplum, Francisco proved that when something is done beautifully, it always looks right).

There were no accessories to detract, but for the narrow black polished calf belts encircling the waists, and a platform pump with a faceted heel which added the perfect balance to the clothes. While it’s true nothing is new under the sun when it comes to fashion, after looking at this collection, you could have me thinking otherwise.

FYI, each seat had a bottle of the Calvin Klein fragrance”Beauty”, and the collection was certainly that.

‘Tool’ Time Guy

Spring  2013 Ralph Lauren black suede  jacket trimmed with scrolled leather & ivory sable evening dress

Earlier in the day, another icon of American fashion, Ralph Lauren, showed two back-to-back shows at the Skylight Studios on Hudson Street, and it was about as different from what Francisco Costa presented as could possibly be. Then again, Ralph really didn’t look like anyone else this season, and while that is not unusual as he usually goes his own way, I don’t think he has ever used Spain and Mexico as a jumping off point for a collection. Who knows why? Maybe it’s a delayed reaction to the “Balenciaga: Spanish Master” exhibit at the Queen Sophia Spanish Institute of a few years ago. Or maybe he traveled there last year? While the best results were subtle, in many cases the inspiration was taken quite literally and it became a bit costumey.

Black suede hobo with fringe trim and bouquet chiffon evening dress

The color palette emphasized black with red; berets and gaucho hats were used throughout, as was tooled leather, which decorated suede jackets and was used for bags (in addition to scrolled leather). There was black crochet and touches of long black leather fringe, which trimmed bags, pants, and one black dress.

Black silk faille embroidered jacket, black silk top, black silk layered organza evening skirt

Then there were the rather obvious multi-colored serapes, which were shown in a variety of ways: a silk chiffon evening dress, done up in multi-colored serape stripes, was paired with a black suede jacket trimmed with tooled leather; the traditional serape was the cover up of choice for a black silk chiffon evening dress; and it added a touch of color and a helping of Latin flavor to a classic white cotton broadcloth shirt and black double face wool pant.

Red scroll leather bag

Ralph used gold (with black) lavishly for fall 2012, and it continued for spring, taking on a more elaborate, ornate feeling.. A black double faced wool cropped troubadour pant was trimmed with gold embroidery on the side; a black organza bolero trimmed with gold embroidery was shown over a black silk shantung pant; a gold lame beaded bolero was paired with a black raffia skirt; an organza vest with gold embroidery was paired with a white ruffled sleeve blouse and black laser cut leather jodhpurs, and a black silk faille jacket with gold embroidery, shown with a black silk layer organza evening skirt, closed the show.

– 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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