Monday, February 09, 2004

Fashion's Going to Extremes (or should I say, 'Going to the Dogs'?)

The biggest dog show of them all - the Westminster Kennel Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden- always coincides with the fall/winter collections in February. But this time, the doggies (adorable ones at that) were also out in force in front of the 6th Avenue entrance to the Tents. So I guess one can say 7thonSixth is truly 'going to the dogs'.

Cute little white bull terriers (the breed that appears in Target's print ads with that signature red bullseye around one eye) along with their handlers, were clad in the chain's coordinating red and white bullseye sweaters, and mingled with the show attendees, young men and women dispensing free WWD's and copies of 'The Daily', and assorted spectators. What a three ring circus! It was in conjunction with the Humane Society and the effort to bring pet awareness to the public.

And it seems fashion is also going to extremes. On Monday I reported that the house of Tuleh might have broken a record by staging the quickest runway show in history.

On Tuesday, Oscar de la Renta may have catapulted himself into the 'Hall of Fame' with a show that started - get this - only a mere 15 minutes after it was supposed to begin! Now, that's a record. It's true: while most shows are well over 45 minutes late these days, Oscar's 50- piece presentation was 15 minutes early. In fact, his 1 p.m. show ended before most would have begun. Bravo to Oscar and his associates for pulling that one off.

And the day had it's ups and downs-while Oscar was very-well- 'Oscar', (feminine, chic, luxurious) with some beautiful coats, furs and fur trims, suits, and evening dresses ((see photos) Carolina Herrera (who says she was inspired by chic European ski resorts of decades past), was really disappointing (see photos) . In fact, I overheard a fellow show attendee commenting to a companion that it was so bad, it looked like the collection was "designed by FIT students." Ouch! In all fairness, some of her little horizontally worked mink jackets looked sporty, snazzy and young, but there was far too much wine and burgundy (she called it 'aubergine') used- particularly for the evening portion. As an accent, it's a fine hue, but in large doses, there is nothing more matronly and aging. (In my opinion, the only place a large serving of burgundy really belongs is in a wine goblet).

And I was also disappointed with Badgley Mischka - though there were some beautiful dresses and separates, the show lacked a cohesive thought, and some of the combinations just didn't work.

I did like Palmer Jones though. The chicly individual and well executed 24 piece collection from the young duo (who are handled by LaForce & Stevens), was aptly named 'Cinderella Attic Dressing Up Box'. It was like a breath of fresh air- perfectly pulled together and styled, the hallmark was it's adept construction and tailoring, beautiful evening pieces- long and short dresses-mixed in with a touch of vintage. It all looked- and is- expensive, one of a kind, and practically couture-like. A nice surprise.

And boy - talk about 'what a difference a year makes'. It's hard to believe that one year ago, Marc Jacobs' runway was a costume party ode to the 60's with jarring colors and contrived shapes. After last night's show, (see photos) it's clear that he's come full circle, embracing a new sophistication- renewing his love affair with cut, tailoring, and dressmaking- but still with his youthful spirit intact. From the look of things, soft blouses (with self bows) and fuller pants will be the benefit of yet another revival.

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