So Many Shows – So Little Time!

If there was a theme to Bryan Bradley’s 34 piece collection for Tuleh, I certainly couldn’t find it. But perhaps that was precisely the point. It was a somewhat disjointed collection consisting of some nice (and some pretty groovy) pieces, and I can only conclude that this is how Bryan sees his customer’s needs. Bryan is continuing with his experimentation (in terms of techniques, fabrics, cuts), and spans the decades in search of inspiration and references.

By the way, for the first time, instead of showing at the small space within the Bryant Park Tents, the Tuleh show was held in the largest Tent venue, which made for one of the most spacious and comfortable (and civilized) shows thus far. Furrier Dennis Basso was seated in the front row and I thought perhaps his company manufactured the furs for the collection but the program notes credited the furs to Moschos. I saw vestiges of everything from the 40’s to 80’s and the collection ran the gamut from shrunken menswear inspired gray 2 piece pantsuits (so fitted you could practically see every inch of the model), and bias cut printed silk dresses that fell right below the knee, to a hip narrow brocade ¾ coat with fur cuffs worn with a very narrow pant.

There were proper ladylike blouses worn with lean trousers or pencil skirts, a beautifully tailored peplumed black skirt suit, a leg o mutton sleeved fur jacket, and an abstract printed ball skirt complete with train paired with a simple fitted knitted top. There were subtle and innovative furs (like the glen plaid coat knee length coat outlined with mink in a grid pattern), and there were in your face over the top furs (like Cecilia’s lacquer red oversized ‘tabard’ trimmed with black and white fur).

Talk about going from the sublime to the ridiculous (or high and low), Lela Rose used her fall show as the perfect opportunity to introduce her new line of shoes for Payless. 5 new styles (high heels and flats) accessorized the 35 piece collection which was filled with short dresses, skirts (many of which featured curved hemlines), coats, capes, pretty blouses (some in prints and polka dots), skinny brocade trousers, elongated bombers and evening gowns. While the cute shoes will undoubtedly retail for under $25, at the end of the program, in large bold letters, it was noted, “All jewelry in the show provided by Van Cleef & Arpels”. So, you could probably add another three zeros to the 25 right there.

Diane Von Furstenberg’s shows are getting more crowded each season and becoming more of a must see ever since she was nominated as President of the CFDA. Her energetic and upbeat Latin themed fall collection, “La Movida!” (“Look ahead…and don’t turn back…” is how Diane sees it) was testament to the many ways one can design-and wear-a dress. While she proposed some skirts and blouses or skirts and jackets, the majority of the 44 pieces were dresses, most of them short. She showed shift dresses, little black dresses, boldly patterned dresses, printed dresses, cocktail dresses, dresses and cardigans, dresses and coats, flapper dresses, flamenco dance dresses.

Tadashi Shoji’s lineup of cocktail dresses, separates, and gowns, was as he put it, “inspired by an ancient warrior traveling through the snowy enchanted landscape of Eurasia in pursuit of his celestial princess only to find her an illusion”. Unfortunately, the pieces were a bit overworked and so body hugging, it was hard to imagine how the models were able to breathe. And in a few instances, (like the stretch mesh and metal beaded tunic dress), I was reminded of Nicolas Guesquiere’s futuristic warrior collection for spring 2007. So over!

The talented young Erin Fetherston delighted the audience with Zoey Dechanel’s rendition of the Mamas and Papas “Dream a little dream for me” before unveiling her sweet and young collection of short dresses, coats, skirts, pretty blouses, and shorts that were inspired by the sky, the moon, and the stars. She even named some of the pieces, ‘constellation’ blouse, ‘shooting star’ dress, ‘moon’ coat and worked in a palette of black, silver, ivory.

Naeem Khan’s dresses and gowns are beautifully detail oriented and beautifully fabricated. These are not clothes that are trying to be all things to all people- there was no daytime, only evening wear (cocktail, black tie, red carpet). The emphasis was on black and mercury (silver) with hits of jewel tones like sapphire, garnet, smoked topaz, antique gold. Embellishment and jewel encrusting were seen throughout and many halter gowns had their own built in necklaces. A little short sleeved t shirt dresses was covered with jet hand-cut mirrored crystals (just think, you wouldn’t need to carry a compact ….you could see your reflection in the dress). Interestingly, the hands down crowd pleaser, which immediately drew applause, was the very first outfit down the runway: a black silk organza wrap front blouse with full sleeves worn with a short full black silk organza pleated skirt embossed with a patent leather baroque appliqué.

Tracy Reese called her Fall 2007 collection (which is all about ladylike sophisticated glamour), “Belle”. Her color palette of choice could almost be summed up in two words, ‘Ebony and Ivory” though that was not the only story. There was also silver, chocolate brown, navy, and touches of magenta, strawberry, and rose. Her coats and outerwear are always distinctive (this season she loves frock coats, tunic coats, smock coats) as are her blouses (the ladylike bow blouse is going through a revival of sorts). Sleeves get full treatment (literally since puff sleeves look new once again) and are given interest courtesy the variety of lengths and shapes proposed.

Tracy’s clothes are always very ‘girlie girl’ and this season was no exception. Hence, grosgrain pleats decorate a bone short frock coat, and a large bow is affixed to the back of a short ‘Hershey’ structured coat with short full sleeves. But it’s the continual play and juxtaposition of masculine and feminine that makes things interesting, and a combination of the two elements could be found throughout. A silver lame pleated tunic was shown with black ‘tux’ shorts’ a scoop-back shift dress was done in menswear inspired silver tweed; traditional black and bone herringbone was used for an a line jacket and pant.

Talk about mixing things up…Tracy is known for mixing modern with vintage and she did this very successfully. The collection was cohesive and well edited: everything was short (leggy) and accessorized with her own collection of jewelry, handbags (black patent frame bags with gold chains and gold hardware), hats (Patricia Underwood for Tracy Reese). The shoes were great by the way: there were high heeled black patent pumps or a rather mod black patent tall boot with a square heel.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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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