Friday, February 11, 2005

Olympus Fashion Week - Day Seven:

First of all, let me just say that I completely agreed with Cathy Horyn’s observation in today’s ‘Fashion’ section, that “the chicest thing to wear this fall will be a cable-knit sweater and a pair of glen plaid trousers. It’s going to be chic because nobody else will have it.” How true. That, in a nutshell, sums up the current state of fashion. By the time a trend (oh, how I hate that word) has become ubiquitous, advertised, editorialized, etc., that’s precisely when you should want avoid it like the plague, unless you don’t mind looking like a fashion victim. Trends come and go at such breakneck speed, one needs to keep ahead of the pack. And Fashion Week is always a perfect opportunity to observe what people are really wearing, and to see what works, and what doesn’t (on the throngs that descend on the Tents and elsewhere), so I couldn’t help but notice how some of the things that looked good on the runways 6 (or 12) months ago, already look old and stale. It’s because, in the end, it is NOT what a woman wears, but rather, HOW she wears it.

The fashion business is a business that wants to sell clothes, but that doesn’t mean the customer should blindly fall pray. Things I’m already bored with: poorly made faux leopard coats, (actually, almost anything in leopard unless it’s really great), fur capelets, fur stoles, stilettos for the daytime (there is nothing worse or funnier than seeing a woman in pain, hunched over, unable to walk in her high high heels), all the new and tacky ‘bags of the moment’ (Dior, Vuitton, Fendi, etc.), new clothes that are made to look like something found in a flea market, fake Puccis (or some of LaCroix’s cartoonish outerwear offerings - vintage Pucci forever!), fringed knitted ponchos (the ones that look they were bought from a street vendor).

By the way, if you really want to know how long, full, or shapeless clothes worn with flat shoes will look on the AVERAGE woman (not Marc Jacobs’ gorgeous creatures who would look good in that proverbial ‘paper bag’), just open your eyes, they are all around and it’s not a pretty sight.

All in all, a rather disappointing morning and afternoon. Jeffrey Chow showed at 9AM and while there were some perfectly nice pieces (always terrific hand knit cashmere cardigans and pullovers, which he is known for), the collection, which he claims was inspired by Fassbinder’s movies in the 20’s, seemed a bit un-modern and contrived (the opposite of what you would expect from one of the new young, up-and-comers).

Next up, the quick, short and well-edited Wunderkind collection, designed by Wolfgang Joop. He may not be blazing new territory, but there were some well tailored pieces including an ivory narrow elongated riding jacket, several nice coats, a sable bolero worn offhandedly with printed chiffon blouse and narrow menswear trousers. The best looks paired masculine and feminine.

Afterwards, society darling Gilles Mendel showed his fall collection for J. Mendel, and I have to say I was really disappointed. The French born Russian descendent, who has put himself on the map with innovative young and hip furs and fur accessories, stated he was inspired by “his youth in Paris” and cited Charlotte Rampling and Romy Schneider as his muses because they “dressed in such easy classic style that always seemed so incredibly cool.” The funny thing was that I would hardly call the collection “classic”. There was too much in the way of see-thru and sheer (chiffon and lace peasant blouses were used throughout), many of the dresses were extremely short, pantsuits were very skimpy (one burgundy velvet in particular was so tight it showed the model’s every curve and line), and many of the coats and jackets just seemed a tad over designed. However, the very first coat out, a pale ivory broadtail with bouillon trim was beautiful, and the most brilliant pieces were the two mink ‘puffer’ coats (one in black, one in white)- which were really mink designed to resemble horizontal down quilting. I was also disappointed with Peter Som’s collection, which seemed a bit old and stuck in somewhat of a time warp. It was not his best effort thus far. (What’s going on with the young kids? Other than Proenza Shouler, they’re really out of that class by now. Having reached cult status, many of the young group just seem to be going through the paces robotically. This season was not their best efforts.

The day ended with Zac Posen’s 8PM show (that started one hour late). In fact, the audience (which included the highly sociable P. Diddy, Zac’s business partner) became so restless and impatient, that at one point, a man sitting all the way in the back screamed out, “c’mon already, the suspense is killing me.” So, was it worth the wait? Well let’s just say that after 7 days of shows, nothing seems worth waiting an hour for, but Zac’s collection was a nice evolution of what he has done before, focusing on his dressed up separates, beautifully cut body defining skirts and dresses with graceful hemlines, uneven hems, and VOLUME. I just had a thought, I wonder if the fattening snacks and beverages (oversized truffles, hot chocolate, crème covered cupcakes) being given out at the Tents were the idea of fashion designers, who want us all to blow up to large proportions, so that we will easily fit into their large clothes this fall.

- byMarilyn Kirschner

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