Thursday, February 08, 2007

New York Fashion Week - Day 6

Yesterday was a day of designers doing what they do best. Michael Kors was completely in his element with a collection predicated on the idea of ‘Sporty American Luxury’ (what else is new?), which is something he knows a thing or two about. (Didn’t Michael invent the genre?) He may not have ‘reinvented the wheel’ with the rather familiar vocabulary, but so what? What’s wrong with doing what you do best and reworking your biggest hits?

To a quick paced soundtrack, the models (men and women) jaunted energetically down the runway looking sporty, rich, and happy. Members of the ‘jet set’. Everything about the clothes shouted ‘luxe sportif’ from the earthy neutral shades that could best be described as typically fall like, to the gutsy fabrics (tweed, herringbone, wool melton, cashmere. Outerwear shined (no surprise there) and Michael’s coats were stellar. They were all short (meaning above the knee) and ranged from classic pea coats and steamers, to swing shapes. There were also sporty anoraks which were often juxtaposed with something unexpectedly more dressed (like the olive cotton anorak paired with a gold floral bronze metelasse skirt and orange cashmere pullover) for that ‘day for night’ effect.

Pants were shown in a variety of styles: sweatpants, cropped pants, classic trousers, and lavish fur trimmed cuffs, collars, and hems. And speaking of furs, they were a major statement here as in most other runways thus far (with the exception of Narciso Rodriguez and Marc Jacobs). Furs were flying down the runway - fur hats in a variety of shapes and pelts; lavish fur trims on cuffs, collars, and hems; fur vests, abbreviated shrugs, jackets, and coats. There was fox, mink, rabbit, sable, and broadtail. There was a nutria toggle coat, a broadtail swing dress, a paillette fox coat and a crowd pleasing knee length black lacquered cheetah brocade coat. PETA be damned! By the way, if they were to stop by the Tents, they would surely be aghast at all the fur clad guests. In a case of life imitating art, there are as many show goers wearing furs as furs being presented on the runway. (Hey, if you’re not going to wear them this week, with the dipping temperatures, well when? There is still nothing as warm.)

Almost nobody does cashmere like MK (his yarns and weaves are thick and luxe) and cashmere pieces showed up as dresses, cardigans, pullovers, serapes. There were also hefty cable stitch hand knits done in luxuriously voluminous shapes. The bags were statement makers, from large structured satchels with bold gold hardware, to enormous ‘jet set’ metallic duffels. The footwear of choice was a high heel (pump or boot). While the collection was decidedly geared towards daytime (or the mix of day and night), evening wear was not forgotten. There were short paillette and fringed dance dresses in addition to several floor length entrance making gowns: a coffee strapless chiffon, a coffee crystal beaded jersey asymmetrical gown, and a black crystal beaded jersey one shoulder ‘Goddess’ gown. I could easily envision Melania Trump (sitting front row center with ‘The Donald’) wearing any of those to a big gala in New York or Palm Beach.

Peter Som’s nicely done collection was inspired by “the seductive beauty of orchids, mixed with the bold confident strokes of John Singer Sargent paintings”. So it was not surprising to find orchard and petal print t shirts, blouses, shirtdresses, and lame dresses. Like Michael’s, this collection was strongest with regards to the day pieces (though there were several short cocktail numbers and two gowns at the end), and the knitwear looked especially good. especially the cashmere and hand knits (too bad there weren’t more of them).

I especially like the charcoal cashmere short sleeve sweater worn with a paler grey worsted wool narrow pant. There were also some interesting broadtail jackets and coats with great shapes that were embroidered to add another dimension and one black ‘Teflon’ coated trench that was given a boost of color from the fuchsia chiffon shirtdress underneath and chartreuse belt over it. Le Smoking is another genre that was touched upon -- there was a black smoking suit with a while silk and cashmere organdy blouse, and a black and cashmere organdy tuxedo blouse shown with back sateen fitted tuxedo pants.

Vivienne Tam was ambitious to dedicate a collection to Paul Poiret, the genius who is one of her favorite designers and who will be honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in the spring, (“Poiret: King of Fashion”, May 9 – August 5). In her program notes she observed that they shared a “passion for delicate details, striking color coordinations and various cultural elements.” Certainly, Poiret was known for his experimentation with Orientalism. For fall, it was her aim to take the classic shapes made famous by Poiret and add her signature details (ribbon embroideries, beading, cut outs).

The 45 piece collection started with a group of cheongsams with slash treatments and dresses (mainly simply cut, narrow columns that just covered the knee) continued to dominate the lineup. Ms. Tam is known for her inventive cuts and one cream wool melton a-line coat with geometric square details down the front was interesting. It was the 6 or 7 pieces that really stood out, including a black heavy satin quilted trench with skeleton embossed in the back shown over a dragon embroidered netting dress and a gold leather hooded jacket paired over a gold leaf dress with copper sequined overlay.

By the way, each seat had a run of show (in red) and a red t shirt tied with a ribbon. Great, I thought….I love red! It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed it’s emblazoned across the chest with “Year of the Pig” in gold letters. Gee, thanks a lot!

You always know what you are going to get with an Anna Sui show. It’s always a colorful, girlie romp, dizzyingly accessorized to the nines and this season was no exception. Winter sports and ski were a reference point and she used active sportswear pieces layered to the max with a myriad of dresses, furs, and hand knits. It had a 60’s vibe (another favorite of the designer). Anna did not abandon the dress and used it as a layering piece in a variety of ways.
There were parka coats and anoraks, knitted cardigans, ski jumpsuits, chunky cable knit sweaters, smock dresses, conversation prints, florals, patchwork furs (courtesy Adrienne Landau), crochet pieces, metallic chiffons, ostrich trims, and brocades. Cozy gray wool tights covered the legs and the footwear was mod inspired and low heeled. The models wore multiple chains and pendants around their necks, and the hats were the stars. There were knitted hats (some with large paillettes) and big fur hats.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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