Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Olympus Fashion Week: Day Five

Surprise, surprise…..the day belonged to Narciso Rodriguez. It began with John Varvatos’s 10 a.m. overly plodding men’s and women’s collection. A big disappointment considering what a great season this should have been for a man who made his mark with classic tailoring along the lines of Ralph Lauren. While there were some standout leathers and shearlings, (though not enough of them unfortunately), and some nice suits and coats for the guys, there was nothing special, unique, or ‘must have’ about a good deal of it, particularly the women’s collection. And really, do we need a designer to actually show more of those ditsy fringed knitted stoles, when they are not that much different than what you can find at your local street vendor? Also, what is it with that pounding rock soundtrack many designers seem to favor? Do they actually think that they can infuse a dull line with excitement just from playing hip, cool, LOUD music?

Then there was the Bill Blass show, which I’m no longer invited to. (I guess they didn’t like what I had said in the past about Michael Vollbracht’s efforts for the legendary label). But I got to view the collection anyway. Once inside the Tents, the shows are made public since they are televised on a number of large screens in the reception area. Suffice it to say that my opinion has not changed. It is a line desperately seeking a designer with a clear, strong vision and personality. And by the way, the hair and makeup rendered stunners like Carolina Ribiero practically unrecognizable. The models looked as though they had just gotten out of bed! It certainly did not help the clothes.

Marc by Marc Jacobs, shown back at the 26th street Armory again, were his trademark, hip, streetwise self (which means eclectic mixes and offhanded parings brimming with personality and energy). For the most part, the clothes are truly for the young, or young at heart.

Later on, back at the Tents, Nanette Lepore showed a signature collection (which alas, could have been better edited) to a packed audience, which included Paris Hilton sitting front row center. One can easily imagine the heiress wearing much of what was shown on the runway- or was she there to get her wardrobe together for ‘The Simple Life’? In any event, the models seem to have been made up to look just like her (all of them sported ash blonde hair tied loosely into long braids).

Now, getting back to Narciso…(Click here for entire collection from NY Metro) his clear vision was very much on view this evening as he presented his beautiful collection. One nice surprise was seeing funny man Jerry Seinfeld (whose reruns still make me laugh out loud) and his wife Jessica (a well known and avid Narciso fan) sitting in the front row. They took their seats just as the lights dimmed. One of the best parts of what was shown was that it really looked like nobody else thus far. No earth tones, no flat shoes or boots, very little in the way of the extremely full skirt, NO furs, no jewelry, (dangling beads, dangling earrings, etc). Quite frankly, after the show, I had this strange urge to take off all my accessories. Colors were mainly black, white (and the combination thereof), gray, silver, plus unexpected shades of pink, poppy, periwinkle, and pale violet colors that one would expect to see for spring/summer. But to his credit, Narciso is such a master technician and so talented, that the most standout pieces were actually those that were shown in black, like the black double face wool exposed seam coat, white shirt, and dark silver metal skirt.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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