Thursday, February 06, 2014

New York Fashion Week Notes

Lisa Perry invokes the “F” word

Lisa Perry silver foil sweatshirt dress

No, not that one silly. But I AM talking about foam, felt, foil, and flocking, the tactile fabrics that formed the basis for Lisa’s short and sweet 20 piece collection which was shown to a group that included Ken Downing, Simon Doonan, and Amy Fine Collins, in her spanking white Madison Avenue flagship yesterday. FYI, AFC was one of the only ones (or THE only one) eschewing practical, snow ready boots, in favor of beautiful black leather Manolo Blahnik shoes. It’s a true case of the haves and have-nots, and in this case, I’m referring to those who HAVE a car and driver at their disposal, versus those who have not, and have to huff it and either find a cab (good luck), or take public transportation. Based on the extended weather forecast, I predict this will be the case as we head into the weekend (all you will have to do is look down and you will know which is which).

Lisa Perry flocked maze cocoon coat

Getting back to the show, quite frankly, it was a study in fabrication AND shape; specifically, exaggerated shape, which was made possible thanks to the use of fabrics that not only had a lot of body, the clothes could practically stand up by themselves (the ultimate fashion ‘armor’). There were puff dresses and skirts, swing and cocoon coats, swing and trapeze dresses, a few which featured exaggerated backs as if to punctuate the point. Above- the- knee lengths prevailed, along with an endorsement of nifty wide legged trousers, tapered pants, and a few shorts.

Lisa Perry black perforated long sleeve v neck swing dress

Speaking of shorts, the sportswear vibe that defined spring (“Tennis, anyone”?) was carried into fall via sweatshirt shapes, and the use of perforations. But while spring was a study in optic white, fall is predominantly black and grey, punctuated with purple,  Kelly green, and an almost glow in the dark silver foil which was in fact the perfect ‘foil’ for an otherwise simple sweatshirt, sweatshirt dress, and easy wrap top. Always a lover of the graphic, Lisa broke up the solids with a graphic maze pattern, which also appeared on the fierce, pointy toed stiletto heeled boots made for Lisa Perry by Manolo Blahnik. Lisa, her own best model, was wearing an empire waist black felt dress with exaggeratedly shaped short shirt, black tights, and purple suede high heeled Manolo Blahnik pumps.

To Russia, with Love

Josie Natori black gown with bib

Earlier in the day, Josie Natori, a designer synonymous with intimate wear,  showed her ready to wear collection. Admittedly inspired by “Russia’s rich culture, Russian folklore and the traditional forms and ornate embellishments found in Russia’s rich culture”, she carried this a step further by opting for the BAC (the Baryshnikov Art Center) at 450  West 37th street as her venue of choice (when the first model came out, it was to the strains of “Swan Lake”). A bit obvious? Yup (as were the babushkas, the braided up-dos, and one nonetheless pretty white cotton peasant blouse with black embroidery on the billowy sleeve). Of course, Russia is on everyone’s minds these days because of the upcoming Olympics in Shoji, and thanks to the bitter ice storm earlier in the day, it not only looked and felt like Siberia, many show attendees actually looked like they were dressed for Siberia in their fur hats, fur coats, snow boots, and parkas.

Josie Natori gray coat ensemble

While Josie may have tapped into the Russian theme literally at times, the overall look and feel of the line (played out primarily in black, winter white, gray, and Bordeaux) was alas, more Zoran than Russian Czarina. Especially where the minimally monastic kimono sleeved double face wool coats were concerned.  Actually, the woman known for her inner wear, scored with her outerwear, which also included several good looking abbreviated coats with fur trim on the sleeves and on the hems. And the group of long dresses that ended the show, including a charcoal double face wool gown with cape back and an empire waist strapless black wool gown with full skirt and a massive black bib necklace, were dramatic in their simplicity.

-Marilyn Kirschner

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