Saturday, February 11, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

Urban Planning

Helmut Lang
Photo: Style.com

Driving light, a crescendo of sound and a raw edge space, set the stage for the Helmut Lang show, in a collection that balanced dark and light with brilliance. From the first look, a sharp shouldered white leather blazer with sleek black jeans and black over the knee boots, the stage was set for looks and details befitting a downtown urban warrior.

The design duo, Nicole and Michael Colovos, in their second runway season, have synthesized what the brand is know for, sharply cut fitted suits, narrow pants and perfectly cuts jackets and coats, and expanding its range with superbly cut leathers, precise dresses and cobweb openwork knits, while maintaining the DNA of the brand.


Helmut Lang
Photo: Style.com

Coats and jackets are the designers’ strong suit, case in point; a perfectly cut felt coat, funnel neck muffler, vest, belt and boots, turned out in the downtown essential, black. There are furs and leathers with an edge, a perfect fit for actress Rooney Mara, she of the much nominated film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, one of the best, a superb black asymmetrical shearling jacket worn with second skin over the knee wedge boots.


Helmut Lang
Photo: Style.com

This is a collection that goes beyond the original intent of its namesake designer, with dresses in subtle driftwood prints derived from nature, one of the best; bias cut, softly enveloped the body asymmetrically. The designers applied a nice hand to openwork crunchy knits and cobwebby lace giving both a modern edge.

Downtown comes uptown in this collection providing de rigure gear for the brands’ devoted following.

- Tricia Kenney


Impulse

Doo. Ri
Photo: Style.com

On an impulse (since I never requested an invite in the first place), I decided to show up at Eyebeam on West 21st, to check out Doo. Ri Chung's fall collection. But there was nothing at all impulsive about Doo Ri's well thought out, well designed, and perfectly proportioned fall collection (which according to her show notes, was inspired by the "poetic motion and elegant haunting movement of Butoh"), and one that put her strengths to good use. It was perhaps her best collection in a while.

Doo Ri
Photo: Style.com

I had long been a fan of the talented designer (who had once worked under the master, Geoffrey Beene), but thought that in recent years, she oft times employed too many distracting tricks and overstatements on the runway. These took away from the purity of what she does best: her ability to manipulate, drape, and twist fabric and most notably, her beloved jersey with which she has become famous.


Doo Rii
Photo: Style.com

Yesterday's effort, highly textural, a play of masculine and feminine, with some stellar knits, knitted details, strong outerwear, and of course, those slinky jerseys, was restrained yet quite effective. There were no embellishments, the models looked believable and modern. Colors, or should I say sophisticated non-colors like charcoal, ice grey, cream, chocolate, hunter green, ink, plum, brass, and black all benefited from their mainly monotone combinations.

And speaking of 'impulse', Doo.Ri is yet another designer following on the heels of Karl Lagerfeld, Giambattista Valli, and others, who have partnered with Macy's to design a popular priced collection for their Impulse Shop. In fact, the store's 6th Avenue windows are currently spotlighting this collaboration. While admittedly, she may not be a household name like Karl, she was certainly catapulted into the fashion spotlight when Michelle Obama chose to wear her stunning purple draped jersey gown to a high profile White House official dinner last year.


Jason Wu
Photo: firstView.com

Coincidentally, the First Lady was on many of our minds Friday, since another young designer who has clearly benefited from her 'endorsement', Jason Wu, presented his strong collection earlier in the day. Suffice it to say that there were many pieces in both Doo.Ri and Jason Wu's collections that I could imagine Michelle Obama wearing.

Jason Wu
photo: firstView.com

'Strong' is the operative word here - a study in black with touches of red, with strong shapes and razor sharp tailoring. In fact, this has been a trend so far and while the shows have just begun, it seems that a strong women, (not a shrinking violet) typified by the First Lady, is the designers' muse this season.

- Marilyn Kirschner


All Grown Up:


In its second season, Douglas Hannant Pink, the younger, hipper, more attractively priced sister label to the designer’s luxury ready-to-wear line, has come of age. The Fall/Winter collection, shown in the intimate, yet appropriately trendy, EZ Studios space, on New York’s west side, consisted of pieces that were polished and chic yet still youthful and fashion forward.

Hannant’s designs breathed new life into retro styles like the shift dress, updated with a bold windowpane print in black and white. A classic coat had an oversized collar and the cable knit sweaters had patterns that were anything but ordinary.



The musical soundtrack for the runway show ranged from Elvis Presley’s Burning Love to Tom Jones’ She’s a Lady and the disparity between these two songs was emblematic of the two types of women that Hannant’s clothing appeared to embrace. One is a hippy rocker with a softer side and the other is a proper lady who has a bit of an edge. The hand-beaded feather shift dress and spicy brass cable knit long cardigan would appeal to the former while the maroon jewel neck zip back dress would be well suited to the latter. Most of the models wore knee socks and all wore chunky platform heals.



Douglas Hannant never fails to add a touch of elegance and glamour to the finale of his shows, and in that respect this collection was no different. The final looks included a black silk chiffon cocktail dress with a silk tiered ruffle bottom, replete with small bows and a black leather shift with a shimmery floral paillette boucle embroidered skirt.

All the pieces in Hannant’s new line were very wearable and it will be interesting to see what next season will bring. In the designer’s own words, “It’s really starting to come together.”

- Rhonda Erb



The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

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