Monday, September 12, 2005

Day Three

Finally, the pace, tempo and schedule picked up on Sunday and there were some satisfying shows and wonderful moments to boot (though naturally, there were some ‘clinkers’ and rather strange moments as well).

Y & Kei, whose constant running theme is “water the earth” started things off with a very elegant, soft, sophisticated, and beautifully accessorized collection which was graceful and feminine and all about modern luxury, texture, rustic ornamentation, and a love affair with pale neutral colors (like ivory, muslin, chalk white, vanilla and there was a hit of black, gray, melon, yellow and parrot blue). The Korean design duo admits that Cate Blanchett is a muse and one can certainly see this strong fashion icon wearing many of these modern pieces. By the way, they are seeing dots (as in circles of all sizes and shapes) and based on early reports, I think it’s safe to say polka dots will likely find their way onto other runways (including that of Donna Karan).

I must say I really liked the showing by of Ashish N. Soni, the Indian born designer who boasts quite a following in his native country. His poetic collection based on simple yet distinctive pieces done in white, black, gray, (and mixes thereof) had more than just a bit of that Japanese vibe (think Yohji, Issye, Rei). There were some absolutely beautiful billowy blouses, as well as tailored coats and jackets, with much attention paid to detail in cut, play of proportion, and an obvious love affair with volume. Of the 45 or so looks that came out on the runway, quite a few were standouts and spoke of an sculptural, dreamy, and artistic vision that is not exactly commercial, but beautiful.

I also loved the well edited collection designed by former Geoffrey Beene intern, Doo.Ri Chung, whose former boss and mentor was an obvious and major source of inspiration. This was apparent in her chic and neutral color palette (she dubbed this her “pantyhose collection” because of all the flesh tone shades), the beautiful silk and jersey draped dresses (both long and short), pleated satin halter gowns, many boasting amazing backs and cutouts, and of course, wonderful coats.

Tracy Reese may not have had her best show yesterday, but it was very signature Tracy, nonetheless was unapologetically girlie, feminine, soft, and in a vintage mode. Relying on a color palette strong on shades of white mixed with buttercup, pale lime, spring blue, citrus, and sweet pink, dresses were both long and short, there was lots of lots of lace and mesh, intricate beading, and the designer admittedly took inspiration from a funky mix of the Belle Epoque and the 60’s.

Alexandre Herchcovits turned his Tent venue into a theatre auditorium for a show that seemed would never start. But start it did and it was as usual, pure Alexandre in its sweet and charming shapes, fresh and youthful prints and pattern mixes, collage effects, and standout dresses, many of which featured full skirts that were above the knee, and thick leather belted empire waists.

Things have certainly gotten a bit strange over at Tuleh ever since Josh Patner left Bryan Bradley to his own devices and the strangeness continued last night with a spring collection that was strangely and shockingly off kilter. Bryan seems to be grappling with just exactly what he wants to say, who he wants to design for, and how he sees the company moving forward. Talking about strange, in one instance, a model came out wearing a bright blue and yellow printed midcalf dress which were accessorized with purple sneakers (yikes!). And what was up with all those old fashioned, unwieldy bustle back long stiff dresses that made it impossible for the models to walk in? The prints were a bit off, the shapes were forced, and it all looked contrived and not very attractive. Even the coats, traditionally stellar and noteworthy at Tuleh, were lacking in true chic.

By the way, Sunday afternoon marked the Academy of Art University’s first student show held in conjunction with 7th on sixth and Gladys Perint Palmer, the noted journalist and illustrator who also serves as its Executive Director of Fashion came to New York for the occasion. The famed San Francisco institution was founded in 1929 and is the largest accredited private art and design school in America. Highlights from collections of 12 recent graduates who hope to become the next Donna, Ralph, Calvin, Michael, were shown in a 20 minute runway show and it was a wonderful showcase for their creative techniques and innovative designs (particularly in the areas of knitwear and textile design).

Included in the group were Staci Snider who has already won an internship with Sebastian Pons, Jamie Mihlrad , who finished an internship with Marc Jacobs and will fly to Milan to work with Carla Sozzani at her famed store, Corso Como 10 along with Kia Faulkenberry-Lewis, and Jeehyun Shim who was selected by Azzedine Alaia to intern for him in Paris.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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