Thursday, March 19, 2009

On the Waterfront: Nautica’s Fall 2009 Men’s Collection



Nautica Fall 2009 Menswear Collection (All photos Isabelle Erb)

Spring was definitely in the air on Wednesday night in Manhattan. The gloomy winter days had finally given way to temperatures hovering in the low to mid sixties. As the sun set slowly over the Hudson River, guests gathered on Pier 86 to attend the Fall 2009 presentation of the Nautica Menswear Collection.



The event took place on the recently renovated Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The historic World War II Essex class aircraft carrier seemed to be an appropriate location for the Nautica Show. After passing through a high-level security check, attendees climbed the stairs to Hanger 4 of the massive ship.


Entrance to the show

Inside, the scene was one part fashion show and one part party. Waiters and waitresses passed hors d’ouevres throughout the crowd as guests mingled and sipped drinks from the open bar. A DJ provided rock music to set the mood.



On one side of the cavernous space, thirty models stood at attention in two rows, clad in Nautica’s crisp fall looks. It was no surprise that the collection seemed heavily influenced by regulation naval attire. There was a wide range of oceanic blues, including navy, indigo, and cobalt. For contrast, the color palette was highlighted by the occasional orange, bright white, or cream, as well as neutrals like black and gray.



Many of the ensembles featured classic naval outerwear, such as the pea coats in charcoal wool or navy cotton or the black wool 3/4 length Captain’s coat. There was also a lightweight yellow sailing jacket as well as a variety of tailored sports coats. For dressier occasions Nautica showed navy or gray pinstriped suits in two button, three button, or three piece styles. A classic navy blue cashmere blazer was matched with a shawl neck sweater and a white button down shirt with a wool tie.

It is not often that one attends a fashion event and is given the opportunity to gain some insight into what military life is like on the high seas. Many of the Intrepid’s exhibits were accessible to the evening’s guests. Of particular interest was a glass portal that allowed you to peer down through the numerous decks below, and a short film that showed how planes landed (described as a controlled crash) and took off on the Essex class carrier when it was fully operational.

- Rhonda Erb

Think It’s Hermes? Guess Again.




Even in the wild and wacky Fashion Industry, sometimes good things do come to those who wait. Take for example, Nadja Solovieva, the Russian-born and London-based designer, who waited until all of the craziness of NYC Fashion Week ended, before showing her new, Vassilisa clothing and accessories collection. Further to the point, the designer pared her pieces against an eclectic backdrop of a midtown loft space, where models informally showed the line, as guests munched on pastel-colored cakes.



Solovieva’s story focuses on romantic dressing that mixes modernity with Seventeenth century silk furnishings from her native, Russian homeland. Here, kaftans (long and short), evening dresses, tops, tunics, skirts, coats, jackets, and covetable, printed chiffon scarves and shawls are basically wearable, classical and for the most part, quite glam. Generally, there are many good-looking pieces in this line, which not only looked great on the skinny models, but could definitely be flattering, on larger, real-life people, a point not missed by this editor.



The collection brings to life lots of intricate draping, pleating, shirring, corseting, one-shoulder effects and the like. While much of this handiwork looked great, sometimes it was just too much and too overdone, marring the prettiness and lightness of the clothing and taking away somehow from what the designer was obviously trying to express acorss her line. On the flip side, fabrics, such as satin, silk, chiffon, English boucle and a bit of Rex rabbit worked well, playing up the color palette, which ran from happy and breezy to dark and moody. The prize winners here, though, were Solovieva’s specialty prints and patterns, many of which showed a decidely strong Parisian feeling.

Assessing the collection overall, it was the gold kaftans, Sadki evening dress, black Sheba evening dress and chocolate with Brown Winter Coat that made this editor long to be all dressed up in Russia during Wintertime. Ditto for the long scarves and shawls. But, no worry here, because for these well-priced accessories, every fashion maven can easily have the look of that hot and very recognizeable Parisian brand, without ever even thinking about having to mortgage the house or sell the condo.

– Adrienne Weinfeld-Berg

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