Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Diane von Fursternberg 2012 Resort Show

DVF’s ‘Wrap’ Session

All photos: Vogue.com

Aha! Eureka! I finally figured out why that ‘in between’ season (the one that’s shown a few months after fall, and a few months before pre spring and ‘real’ spring), is given the label, ‘Resort’. It’s just another ‘excuse’ for designers to tempt their customers with what they hope will be ‘gotta-have-it’, ‘can’t-live- without-it’ pieces, which will fill the racks and shelves of stores and boutiques, and ultimately put money into their pockets, enabling them to take their enviable jaunts to secluded beaches and exotic locations! (It’s a great tax write off because they incorporate their luxury trips into their businesses- if you read the ‘inspirations’ behind many of the collections, you’ll see what I mean).

Sure, ‘resort’ sounds enticingly relaxing and appealing; but let’s be honest: it’s a throwback; a decidedly old fashioned, almost awkward, if not downright passe title, n’est pas? (Well, at least the word, ‘Cruise’, has been done away with…as if). In the first place, the pieces that make up the ‘resort’ collections oft times look far more urban, more streetwise, or more career perfect, than laid back and ‘beachy’ keen. And more importantly, thanks to harsh economic realities of life, fewer and fewer people can actually indulge themselves with fabulous jaunts to mind numbingly glorious beaches and exotic getaways. But of course, fashion is nothing, if not transformative. And ‘resort’ can be seen as ‘a state of mind’. Sometimes, just wearing a specific item (color, style, etc.), can instantly transport one to another time or place. I know that whenever I wear my French Breton striped tops, I feel as though I’m in the South of France, and my vintage Pucci’s automatically take me to Capri and Positano - (well, kind of).

Be that as it may, resort, like ‘pre’ fall and ‘pre’ spring, is a bonafide ‘season’ (even if it’s not really a ‘season’), and a growing number of designers continue to make a statement, via informal presentations in their showrooms, small intimate shows for a select few in chic galleries, as well as larger shows in a variety of venues. CFDA President, fashion designer, and world traveler extraordinaire Diane von Furstenberg is one of this group, and she has traditionally staged her formal runway resort show at her impressive headquarters located in the very happening Meatpacking District.

This season, as a departure (and I assume, to allow for a larger, more ambitious museum worthy set, as well as to accommodate a larger crowd), the ‘Queen of the Wrap’, and self professed ‘first rate’ packer, moved one block north, to the Highline Stages at 440 West 15th street, to present ‘Wrapsody Rap’, (in fact, the first outfit out was in fact a printed obi crepe wrap jumpsuit with bralette swim top). It was one of her most concise, satisfying resort shows (and maybe one of her best, most appealingly modern, to the point, and well edited collections in memory). And while it looked like ‘resort’ (by that I mean, it had enough of those laid back, lighthearted, special, desirable pieces you might fantasize about taking with you if you were going someplace wonderful), it was at the same time slick, tailored, and citified enough to work for many different locales, seasons, and occasions.

The program notes actually cited “urban surfer, beach networker, and snowboarding dreamer”, which would explain the use of scuba-inspired neon colors (they literally glowed in the dark at the show’s end when the lights went off), athletic and sportswear inspired shapes, in addition to graphic color blocks, modern art inspired abstract patterns, trompe l’oeil details (such as the ‘bralette’ swim tops on dresses), interesting surface textures (shots of silver were seen throughout), inventive fabric combinations (techno taffeta and poplin were played off cotton, crepe, georgette, jersey), and inventive layering. It was a believable, cool mix of boy meets girl (for example, a ‘boyfriend blazer’ in lacquered black and white tweed was shown over a white tech taffeta blouse, black bralette swim top, and sunshine raffia miniskirt); day and night (silver embellished tops, silver lurex sweaters, and simple sequin blouses were layered over neon hued silk crepe tops and skirts, and a gray city slicker anorak was thrown over a mauve/neon orange/black crepe dress).

And though the collection was mainly ‘leggy’ (by way of Bermuda shorts, miniskirts, above the knee crepe dresses), there were also well turned out canvas and twill pants. Shoes were great: I loved the use of an ultra feminine, pointy toed, ankle tied pump on a kitten heel, or the delicate mid heel sling back pump (such a nice departure from all those clunky, heavy shoes we’ve been seeing), as were the bags: from chic, hardly there minaudieres, to graphic, oversized canvas carryalls.

Best of all, the models came out quickly, at seemingly breakneck speed, and before you knew it, the show was over. Not surprising since, as President of the CFDA, DVF had a few other things to do on Monday, other than staging her show (like getting ready for the evening festivities at Lincoln Center).

-Marilyn Kirschner

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