If you can believe it, I’m still vacuuming the stubborn little pieces of silver confetti from Marc Jacobs’ Monday night show off my carpet and my floor. Oh well... At this point in the week, it’s obvious that certain trends have really crystallized. Among them: dresses, dresses, and more dresses, dresses for day and for night, dresses under jackets, dresses under coats; endless variations on the soft pretty white blouse with delicate details (pintucks, pleats) ; lace and lace trim; eyelet; folksy rustic luxe (the idea of an artisinal take on luxury as seen in embroidery and beadwork); ’neutral’ territory: the ongoing love affair with an entire range of pale shades from ivory to tan; classics revisited (a la Marc Jacobs); “March of the Penguins” (no, not the movie everything else seems to be a study in black and white); going dotty with polka dots in every size and shape; ruffles; shorts of every length and proportion.
Tuesday began with Monique Lhuillier’s collection of cocktail and eveningwear worked in a smoky color palette and inspired by the 60’s Mod era with its voluminous skirts. Indeed, while floor length gowns are the house’s trademark, the shorter dresses have become a large part of the lineup. Touches of art deco beading decorate some of the evening gowns while others are rather simple and unadorned.
Standouts in the 38 piece collection are the silk white gazar halter tuxedo cocktail dress which opened the show, a caviar beaded tulle bateau neck ballerina dress, a silk white eyelet ribbon tuxedo shell worn with a black embroidered tulle and chiffon flared a line skirt, a silk white ruched chiffon flapper cocktail dress, the group of chiffon goddess gowns, and the two silk taffeta ballgowns which closed the show.
Michael Vollbracht for Bill Blass:
Like almost everyone else, Michael began his show on ‘neutral’ ground with the colors of the season: ivory, beige, and sand tones. His were in the form of little sweaters sets worn over short lace full skirts and trousers suits. Though Michael admitted his inspiration as “The wives of Roger Vadim, 1964 and the South of France”, alas, it sounded a bit sexier than it actually was. Instead of using those elements as a jumping off point, he took it a bit too literally. As if to get his point across, he had his models wearing Brigitte Bardot blond falls and in one crowd pleasing ‘passage’, a trio of Bardots came out in similar sherbert colored party dresses (fitted through the torso with full (petticoated) skirts.
Michael had also promised to feature variations on the ‘little black dress’ and noted that nothing looks better with black than sand. (And interestingly, though Bill Blass himself often used black throughout his career, and designed some pretty fabulous little black dresses -- and then some -- he had once observed that “rich women don’t wear black”. In any event, after having come through a fall season with so many little black dresses, Michael’s current take on the theme produced nothing too exceptional. However, what did look good was his soft, feminized take on the traditional black tuxedo. Michael’s version was a black organza jacket and short full skirt worn over a white tucked front tuxedo blouse. And continuing on with ‘The March of the Penguins’, another successful look was the sweet short sleeved organza blouse in white with black pin dots (dots again), worn over a black organza skirt. The show ended with some pretty, frothy, empire waisted organza gowns.
Behnaz is known for her pared down, modern, simplistic aesthetic, her signature coats (especially her trenchcoats) and dresses, AND her love of black and white. Spring is actually a study in black and white, which provides the perfect backdrop to play up the couture like construction of her chic little dresses and jackets (some which are shown with skirts, some with elongated shorts). Working with double faced wool, cloque, chiffon, paper boucle, raffia, silk tweed, sequins, and hammered satin, the collection was highly textural, and filled with delightful little details like bows, enormous buttons, slightly puffed sleeves and lace collars.
Standouts included the ivory double faced wool shift outlined in black with black bows on the two large pockets; a short self belted khaki silk trench with puffed sleeves; a pretty white cotton blouse worn with tan silk tweed pleated skirt; a black double faced wool jacket piped in white with large white buttons worn with a black hammered satin ruffled skirt, and her whimsical take on black tie: a black silk and cashmere short sleeved sweater boasting a trompe l’oeil bow tie in front, worn with a black narrow hammered satin long ruffled skirt.
The note on the front of the program announced, “Africa….the land of great beauties”, and prior to the show Zang stated that this season was all about the exotic nature and culture of Africa with a touch of the British Aristocrat. So, it was not surprising to find Zang off on his own couture like safari this season. The collection, comprised of 36 looks, including some menswear, was all about black, khaki, and ivory with luxurious, couture like takes on traditional safari items (there were safari shirts, jackets, blazers, even a mini safari dress), all beautifully tailored and seemingly molded to the body.
One of the best groups (I guess you could call it, safari “black tie”) featured a beautiful ivory silk chiffon blouse with exaggerated and elongated ruffled cuffs worn with lean black raw silk trousers, and a black raw silk princess skirt with organza lace back inserts worn with a black silk, wool, and cashmere sweater set ending with gigantic sculptural ivory cuffs. This appeared to be a separate blouse beneath but actually, it was actually organza ‘trims’. Brilliant idea! There were some really beautiful black silk faille and organza evening gowns, some with ruffled trim, a khaki silk satin organza beaded damask floor length caftan, and a show stopping group of black silk satin dresses whose hems were entirely beaded with vivid wild African orchids. The finale featured black silk chiffon gowns with embroidered raffia and ruby or amethyst native African collar.
- Marilyn Kirschner