Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Diamond Girl"

Clad in signature all black, all the better to offset her amazing diamond neck piece (custom made for her in India), which was worn with a longer vintage diamante necklace in the shape of a tiny purse, Reem Acra mingled with members of the press as they viewed her pre-fall collection. She embodied her own design philosophy, which is all about couture like luxury (“I believe in luxury” she told me).

Shown just months before the big fall shows in February, the pre fall collections provide a ‘teaser’ at what’s to come and seem to be growing in importance as more and more designers host formal and informal presentations. This was only Reem Acra’s second pre-fall show, but it was her biggest. Shown informally on both dress forms and live models, the venue, Ms. Acra’s enviable second floor showroom in the spectacular Crown Building (at the corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue), was deemed the “perfect place” to present her “museum worthy” 30 piece collection, since the space had previously been an art gallery. In fact, the curved motif of the tiled floors mimicked the design of the intricate embroidery on many of the gowns and provided the perfect backdrop.

Hallmarks of the collection, and ongoing themes within Ms. Acra’s oeuvre, are the emphasis on embellishments (“they ARE the prints” as she put it), and the intricate and painstaking hand work (not only exemplified by the hand embroidery but the hand dying). In fact, Ms. Acra delighted in pointing out that she creates colors that “don’t exist”, illustrated by a group of gowns in a shade of ‘jewel green’ that was indeed unusual in its depth. (Names of other colors used within the decidedly dark and muted collection were ‘nude black’, ‘blue black’, ‘grey nights’, ‘deep red’).

When I asked Ms. Acra if she had ‘favorite’ piece in the collection, she immediately pointed to the draped amethyst purple gown with an embroidered necklace and waist which seemingly the centerpiece and one of the first displays you saw upon entering the room. Other standouts, speaking volumes about Ms. Acra’s design credo, were the gold tulle embroidered gown; the chocolate silk chiffon strapless empire gown with sculpted and pleated neckline and embroidered waist; and a duo which had more than a touch of art deco (the gold lame pleated long skirt and silk embroidered tank, and the black stretch crepe embroidered strapless gown).

-Marilyn Kirschner

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