Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bonjour a toi, Mademoiselle Ann Taylor

(Photos courtesy Anne Taylor)

In case any of you out there in fashion-land have been living under a rock or visiting a far-off Galaxy, you have heard about and most probably have seen the big, bold change-about in the look and feel of Ann Taylor’s collections (clothing and accessories, of course). No more is this change more apparent than across the Spring 2010 clothing and accessory groupings, the majority of which are clearly styled and priced for the masses across the country, many of whom love to shop at Ann Taylor’s stores, and see and buy pieces that can work across the wardrobe in a laissez-faire, French way. Keeping to this point, everything across the clothing and accessories groupings is quite fresh and pert, with a definitive, European-themed, BCBG aura, in feeling. The point is proved in a vive la diff√©rence way, via a trendy shift in style, shape, silhouette, color and the like. Think about words such as “through a rose tinted lens” en francais, if you please, and you get the picture.

The majority of the clothing, per se, is very pretty, soft and fluid, with an all-about-the-girl story, from day right into evening. Blurring the lines between edgy and classic, an abundance of separates and dresses run wild. There are deconstructed and shapely trenches, toppers and short coats, with all kinds of easy-going, generally affordable pieces for sportive, work and glam occasions.

Across the collection of wearable clothing that appears to look as super on a size 12 or 14 as on a size 2 or 4, there are accouterments of choices, such as floral-inspired palettes, watercolor-infused prints and patterns, the majority showing an eye for drape and detail that looks to come straight from the most haute couture, designer runway. Speaking of a designer runway, there are the sensuous, flowing gowns, most notably in blackest black; some in white and ivory - the black creations look best - with lots and lots of fine details. European in feeling, and perfect for any big-time celebrity in the house, these special-event pieces could certainly have their moment on the most lavish Red Carpet in New York, Hollywood and anywhere in between.

A favorite Ann Taylor moment for this editor is the vintage-like, Riviera grouping, which brings to the eye and mind a sea of Oceanic blues, dotted with crisp memories of black and white; picturesque shores of beautiful Monaco, Cannes and St. Tropez, as they were in their heyday, circa 1920. Across this grouping, the silk fringe jacket, ribbed tank, tropical wool signature pant and skinny belt express the mood, along with the uptown pleated dress and embellished grosgrain belt; wavy petals cardigan; darling dot tiered dress and reverse bow jacket, teamed with silk Habotai hazy dot top, pencil skirt and skinny belt.

Moving on to the new crop of accessories, which are presented under the umbrella of “Covetables”, the r’aison d’etre for these items, according to the Ann Taylor catalog, is: “little things we simply can’t live without. Beautiful, opulent, sumptuous, sparkly, couture-inspired pieces that transform an outfit from ordinary to extraordinary.”

OK, some of this may be a bit heady and over-the-top, but the jewelry really is great, and in some cases, definitely outstanding and desirable, especially when tossed on this way and that; mixed up and layered one over the other in short and long variants. Favorites here are huge sunburst necklaces, pyramid and pave disc necklaces and pearls over pearls over pearls with an authentic look of that well-known and highly desirable, double-logo, French designer’s antique pieces, Another cool thing about the jewelry is that the highest price point for any piece is a mere $198. Talk about investment dressing on a shoestring.

Adding on to the big fashion at a price message are skinny ruffled and metallic sheer luxe scarves and shawls; lots of couture-inspired shoes, ranging from sexy, high heels to perky, ballet flats; a myriad of buttery, textured totes, clutches and big handbags, and last but not least in any good collection, skinny belts in black leather, black and granite patent, and exotic ash.

- Adrienne Weinfeld Berg

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