21 Sep. 2011
SHOW REPORT: NEW YORK FASHION WEEKWith approximately 250 on- and off-schedule runway shows and presentations taking place across the city (not to mention parties and other special events), the latest edition of New York Fashion Week, which concluded on Thursday evening, was pretty much guaranteed to offer something for everyone. And it did.
Whether on display at the extravagant shows of well-known commercial brands that ran at the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center or at the more intimate affairs presented by up-and-coming names at Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District and other downtown off-site venues, the spring/summer 2012 collections were, for the most part, colorful, immensely wearable and sellable but not particularly cutting-edge. (Of course, there were a few welcome exceptions). Trendwise, a 1970s vibe dominated while prints of all varieties appeared on everything from 3D-inspired dresses at Custo Barcelona to men’s casual shorts and swimsuits at Nautica and Gant by Michael Bastian.
Here, is a rundown of some of the key shows…
NICHOLAS K’s early morning runway show at Lincoln Center opened the week with womens- and menswear that had a kind of boho, desert-like feel (think flowing silhouettes in neutral and dark shades accessorized with tie-dye nomad-inspired summer scarves). The color palette was especially soothing and while the show was all about layering, real customers will probably not wear many of the fantastic pieces shown head-to-toe.
REBECCA TAYLOR showed–no surprise here–a very feminine collection that was characterized by dark floral prints, asymmetrical dresses, pops of bright chartreuse (especially in open-weave crochet-like knits) and cropped anoraks. Nice!
MARA HOFFMAN’s presentation continued her colorful, bohemian bent with a collection inspired by traditional Mexican womenswear. Many of the models resembled Frida Kahlo. While some pieces may have looked a little too touristy/costume-like, Hoffman more than made up for them with a fantastic white open-knit maxi dress and colorfully printed dresses and jumpsuits.
Never a brand to take many stylistic risks, NAUTICA showed its collection on the roof of the Empire Hotel near Lincoln Center. Divided into three groups (traditional blue & white nautical, a group of bold brights and one featuring pastel blue and yellow with pops of pink and red), the collection perfectly reflected the brand’s easy-to-understand aesthetic and will probably sell very well. Stylewise, the pops of bright color were an especially welcome addition.
With both his men’s and women’s collections, TOMMY HILFIGER wowed this season. The former, called “Modern Prep,” included brightly colored blazers with contrasting varsity jacket–inspired leather sleeves, suits in colored camo and colors such as raspberry and bright orange. The latter, called “Pop Prep,” featured many of the same fabrics and colors in the men’s collection but amped up the color even more, especially in a series of knockout colorblocked ponchos.
Award-winning designer BILLY REID wisely stuck to the rustic-meets-dressy aesthetic that pervades his designs and again showed a fine collection of mens- and womenswear. A women’s patchwork jacket and a men’s chambray shirt were reminiscent of the Old West while dressier offerings included beautifully cut three-piece suits.
Anna Wintour actually looked impressed and very, very happy as menswear designer ANTONIO AZZUOLO walked her through his collection, which he presented at Milk Studios. And she had good reason to be: the collection’s contrast of sporty (deep V tees and a long bib-front shirt) and dressy looks (a gray double-breasted suit with a bow tie) created a very appealing mix.
GERLAN JEANS’ namesake designer Gerlan Marcel offered an antidote to commercial fashion with her “Mall Witch” collection for women and men, which was inspired by angry, snot-nosed teenage “mall rats.” As usual, her custom-prints, including one of faces and another of bright green “slime,” made for the most fun and eye-catching pieces. And although some of the collection looked like actual punk-inspired pieces for teens instead of a satiric take on that look, the sheer out-of-the-box creativity behind the clothes (including a bra with witch-hat cones) led to a very unique and enjoyable show.
Designer ROBERT GELLER said that he wanted to explore new shapes for men spring 2012 but his collection came across as rather traditional, especially compared to some of his prior ones. Nonetheless, it was characteristically gorgeous. Mesh tops were layered under almost every shirt and his deep blue-on-blue looks were both covetable and on trend.
While the vast Y-3 collection always offers some amazing individual pieces for women and men, the latest one felt like a bit of a retread of previous seasons. Ruffles and stark black-and-white checks added some interest but the baggy black and bright red pieces led one audience member to ask aloud, “Didn’t they show that last time?”
Menswear designer SIMON SPURR proved to be one of New York’s best with a collection that mixed dressy looks with more military-inspired casual ones (think white jeans worn with an admiral’s-type jacket with brass buttons). Olive and black were the key colors and Spurr’s outwear–including leather moto jackets and a canvas trench with padded leather sleeves–was truly the star of his show.
Some audience members were blown away by the very loud and colorful “Tripolar” collection by CUSTO BARCELONA, which included a group graphic prints using 3-D technology. However, while its fine craftsmanship and creativity were very apparent, the overall package came across as a celebration of fashion garishness that was de trop.
Louis Marone’s spring androgynous menswear collection for his label DOMINIC LOUIS made for one of the most interesting and avant-garde presentations of the week. A modern dance troupe performed as models wore innovative looks that ranged from a nude, belted swimsuit to jeans with side lace-up details and an elaborate floor-length patchwork hooded cloak. Marone is clearly a designer to keep an eye on.
Held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the MARITHE + FRANCOIS GIRBAUD show featured original dark, distressed and ozone- and laser-treated jeans. There is no denying that the company knows and creates amazing denim bottoms. Unfortunately, though, when they were paired with slogan tees saying “Rebel/Criminal” they did not necessarily come across as catwalk-worthy fashion.
Jason Sabatino held a low-key presentation of his eponymous menswear label J. SABATINO in Chelsea and showed some very impressive menswear, some of which was military inspired. An original camo-print suit seemed very much on trend while horizontal striped shorts paired with a vertical striped jacket were a fresh nod to the nautical trend that is so prominent in menswear now.
Likewise, while the PERRY ELLIS show featured very wearable, commercial menswear in a pretty palette for guys who like to play it very safe in their fashion choices, the show suffered from a lack of newness. There was nothing wrong with the collection per se. In fact, it looks lovely and will probably sell very well. But one must wonder if such a safe and familiar-looking offering actually belongs on a runway.
Diesel Black Gold
Inspired by contrasts of light, the DIESEL BLACK GOLD collection for spring 2012 is one of the brand’s all-time bests. Awash in iridescent, metallic greens and silvers and including standout pieces such as bell-bottom skinny pants and a shiny light green bomber jacket, the clothes looked especially fresh and new.
Serving up one of the brightest, boldest collections of the week, NANETTE LEPORE was all about vivid, almost neon color for the season. Featuring nearly fluorescent pinks, oranges and blues in solids and bold stripes, her adorable assortment of dresses and separates was definitely one of week’s biggest womenswear winners.
Inspired by a now legendary episode of the 1970s TV show “The Brady Bunch” about a family vacation to Hawaii, the spring GANT BY MICHAEL BASTIAN collection rode in on a wave of bright color, retro-inspired touches such as floral embroidery and sporty rainbow stripes and a healthy dose of humor. Fun, young and fashionable, it was probably this collaborative collection’s best offering yet.
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