Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

The Charmed Life

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

Designer Oscar de la Renta’s fall 2012 show, the first in his new venue, was a confectionary delight. The sophisticated designer was clearly targeting PYT (Pretty Young Things), with the prettiest form of charming colorations - rose pink, ice blue and white - jeune fille styles and decorations. all turned out in a very Oscar way.

Femininity reigned in pretty in pink decorative styles, such as a duo perfectly poised for the ballet, an ivory silk cable knit sweater with rose pink pendant printed silk faille skirt and dyed pink feather fox stole and a pale rose faille and filagree cotton guipure dress with rose cashmere turtleneck capelet. There were sporty shapes in pale colorations, après ski style cable cardigans, skinny pants and silver goat vests. Evening took a charming turn with frothy tulle ball gowns and flirtatious silk cloque and tulle draped styles. Tres charmant.


Oscar countered those with a gorgeous black and white story with couture level touches - gorgeous trompe l’oeil embroidery, beading, pleating and touches of fur. Case in point, a white paillette embroidered black brocade coat with silver fox collar which got the crowd’s attention and a black double faced cashmere and angora coat with white feather bijou pendant embroidery and mink collar which had them cheering for more. Suit looks included two variations, one a ruby embroidered tweed jacket over a ribbon tweed skirt, and the other quilted sable tweed printed crepe de chine coat and dress beaded to ultimate effect. Perfectly ravishing.


Oscar is never better than when he heads to evening and this season was no exception as he offered a duo of dazzlers in gold and silver, a lame and beaded fringe silk crepe de chine dress evoking the ‘20s and a gold bullion and bead embroidered glitter tulle gown with iridescent gold silk taffeta skirt, spelling money in the bank gold.

In a season in which decoration and finishing touches count, Oscar de la Renta is more relevant than ever.

-- Tricia Kenney

Graphic Designer

Narciso Rodriquez Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

Coats are making a big impact this season --they are more than just an outer layer, needed for warmth and protection -- they are the pivotal piece in a woman's wardrobe. So it was not at all surprising that Narciso Rodriguez would begin his 34 piece collection, shown last evening at The Theatre at Lincoln Center (friend and customer Claire Danes was seated in the front row) with the chartreuse bonded wool coat. A sculptural, unfussy, modern and a perfect example of what the architecturally grounded designer does best. I loved the way he experimented with shape and volume, using gutsy fabrics like bonded wool and wool felt, playing with off beat hues (chartreuse, petrol, loden, brick, tangerine, russet).



Especially notable was his use of graphic color blocking, which was a theme throughout. It appeared in several of his coats, showed up in his group of silk and wool dresses (using combinations of colors like tangerine or russet with brick), and even in his furs. There was an ecru and chestnut beaver cropped jacket and short coat, both of which were shown over graphic laminated tops. But perhaps the most interesting use of graphic color blocking was through his strong accessories: short napa gloves, suede/ostrich booties, which featured a pointy toe and high heel and were shown with bare legs, and handsome bags.



Abbreviated jackets in bonded wool or textured napa and flannel were cut close to the body and paired with lean trousers in wool and cotton; a wool angora tweed was used for a dress and a bustier, and for evening, instead of a predictable floor length gown, he proposed a bias skirt that was short in front and long in the back, paired with a laminated or embroidered top. The only problem was that a few models were obviously having trouble keeping their stiletto heels from catching in the long panel of the skirt as they walked down the runway. I guess we won't see Claire Danes at the Academy Awards wearing of these on the Red Carpet.


The Naked Truth

Vera Wang Fall 2012 Collection
Photos: firstView.com

You know David Barton's advertisement, which admonished us to "Look better naked?" Well, lets just say that most of us need more than just a gym membership to truly achieve that goal, but I couldn't help but think of that yesterday morning during the opening segment of Vera Wang's fall collection, because the first 7 outfits out were rendered in head to toe nude - as if she were showing us an alternative way to achieve that goal and still remained clothed.


Now I have no idea what Vera looks like naked, but she did show the world quite a bit of her well toned bod in the February issue of Harper's Bazaar, posing in a bathing suit and high heels in her new ultra modern and quite fabulous home in Los Angeles. She also admitted she is not really a high heel and swimsuit kinda gal, preferring to dress in signature black or gray layers (I think she referred to her look as covered up, a la Laurence of Arabia). Vera always injects a lot of herself within her collections and they always mirror her look. While black and gray appeared throughout her 39 piece collection which admittedly harked back to her artsy side, and focused on opposites attracting, layering, transparency, lingerie touches, the idea of clothing as protective soft armor, they were not the whole story.



In addition to the aforementioned nude, there were flashed of bright tangerine, (which looks great with nude I might add), and Dutch blue, that latter appeared as multi layered organza or silk chiffon prints. Very West Coast, I was thinking. And while there were a few melton coats and oversized parkas, not to mention massive raccoon collars, hoods and trims, many of the outerwear pieces were sleeveless, and layered over sheer, wispy chiffons and the collection as a whole, did not look as though it were geared for someone who had to maneuver around the city during a tundra, relegated to taking the subway to-and-fro. I guess we can assume that Vera's new bi-coastal life has thoroughly impacted on her sense of style. FYI, when she took her bow at the end of the show, she was not wearing a swimsuit and heels.

I have to mention that I loved the models' upswept up swepts, which looked like an impossible feat of aerodynamic brilliance. Styled by Paul Hnlon for Frederic Fekkai, the gorgeous Mr. Fekkai was sitting the in the front row taking pictures with his cell phone camera so I guess he was pleased with the results as well. Whatever product they were using had to be a magic potion. Sign me on!

Shine On

Naeem Khan Fall 2012 Collection
All photos: firstView.com

I felt bad for Naeem Khan. He was named the "Mercedes-Benz Presents" designer this season, and some of his work was on display in the lobby of the tents alongside Mercedes-Benz’s new ML63 AMG SUV. He also made a special appearance at the February 9 Fashion’s Night In event, which formally kicked off the week of shows at the tents. He has traditionally shown on the last day of Fashion Week, but somehow, had the misfortune of being given the 2 PM time slot yesterday afternoon. Since the Rodarte show, held in a far west Chelsea art gallery, probably did not start until 12:45, many of those guests did not have time to get back uptown in time for Naeem's show. The collection was inspired by the "decadence and dust of India: the body as canvas: from the Mughal Paisley to the Hindu Tilakas". But, for whatever the reasons, there were plenty of empty seats that needed to be filled in at the large Theatre and many guests who had standing tickets, eventually got bumped up to the first row.


In any event, one almost needed sunglasses because the shine factor (deco, crystal, silver dome beading, mirrors, metallic threadwork, silver and gold pailettes, etc.) was so high. Naeem is, of course, known for his entrance making elaborately embellished designs, many of which unsurprisingly find their way on the backs of stars walking the Red Carpet. Suffice it to say that there were many such creations on display at the show.

--Marilyn Kirschner



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