Showing posts with label Jason Wu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jason Wu. Show all posts

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New York Fashion Week Notes

Urban Planning

Helmut Lang

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

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

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


Doo. Ri

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

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

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

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

'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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Saturday, February 12, 2011

New York Fashion Week Notes: Day 2

                    Jason's 'Lace' Wonders

Jason Wu Fall 2011 Collection
(All photos

Jason Wu’s fall collection was, in the words of his run of show, “inspired by the beautiful photos taken by Robert Polidori in his book “Parcours Museologique Revister”, which documented the detailed restoration process of Versailles over a period of 25 years”. Which explains the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling of the Chelsea Gallery where his show was held on Friday afternoon. It was all about high contrasts and juxtapositions, imbuing opulence and luxury with a modern vibe.

While the couture like elements, fabrication, dressmaking details, and feminine flights of fancy Mr. Wu has become known for were still in place (gaining him loyal fans like Anna Wintour and Michelle Obama), it was far less precious, ‘ladylike’ (of should I say, First Lady like), and colorful than in the past, and here was far more reliance on razor sharp tailoring and borrowed from the boys’ haberdashery, played out almost entirely in charcoal, black, ivory, navy, and nude with touches of burgundy, gold, silver, and cerise. (FYI, Anna Wintour looked like a caricature of herself in a cognac leather coat with a pale fox fur collar so enormous, it almost obscured her face. No wonder she feels the need for bodyguards).

Gone were the turbans, wide horizontal stripes, and full legged trouser pants from last season. In its place were trim lace trim wool coats and parkas (now fewer than 15 types of lace were shown throughout, and it was really all about lace), fitted wool jackets, wool tuxedo and cigarette pants, sculpted dresses in silk radzmire, and rock star worthy ornately embroidered wool anoraks. There were silk hounds tooth jacquard key hole back dresses with falling leaf lace embroidery, wool degrade and ostrich feather coats, frothy nude and black burn-out feather lace dresses, and some of the best examples of that seemingly simple yet timeless combo: a beautiful blouse and a ‘simple’ black skirt, which for Jason translates into a long sleeved nude silk chiffon blouse with black lace overlay, paired with a short black silk radzmire sculpted skirt with lace trim, and a nude feather lace blouse embroidered with Swarovski elements, which was shown with a floor length black lace evening skirt.

A gold lace paillette embroidered gown which was cut with the ease and simplicity of a tee shirt (but was not lacking in dramatic impact), and a cerise pink silk chiffon strapless gown with gold leaf embroidery had Michelle Obama’s name all over them. Actually, it’s easy to imagine the First Lady wearing many of Jason’s pieces, including the frothy ostrich feather lace dresses, to high profile soirees in the coming months.

Doo.Ri’s ‘Draped’ Wonders

Doo. Ri Fall 2011 Collection

I loved Doo. Ri’s inventive and highly personal run of show which read like a behind the scenes, intimate documentation of the thought process and planning that went into her fall collection, complete with sketches and rendered in her own scribbled handwriting. There were notations of inspirations (the work of Beverly Semmes), favorite fabrications (cashmere/wool jersey, double faced wool, angora, cashmere knit, nylons, viscose, leather, fox fur, silk chiffon); beloved silhouettes (long and fluid, elongated proportions), tailoring, blazers, oversized jerseys and outwear, cut away tops, linear structure, movement; and the use of the phrase, “city nomadic” (hey- isn’t that what Yeohlee called her collection several years ago? A collection that eventually became a museum installation? Actually, Yeohlee called it Urban Nomad). I always love that phrase because it sums up what longtime city dwellers always need and on the lookout for: clothing that not only looks good but truly functions.

Unfortunately, at times, Doo.Ri’s signature draping (and of course, what she is known for), seemed to get the better of her and the problem with much of the line, was that there was just too much fabrication, and at times, even the lithe tall models had their hemlines dragging on the floor of the runway. Not the most practical thing for pounding the pavement, getting in and out of cabs, or trekking up and down the stairs in the subway. And interestingly, Doo.Ri herself is quite petite and her own personal wardrobe staples are far more lean, pared down, and body conscious. That’s not to say there were not some beautifully cut pieces, played out in a tonally neutral color palette (from head to toe including the boots): jersey dresses with draped hems; oversized mohair sweaters and wool cable sweaters; a shirttail leather and wool jacket cut like a fencer’s jacket; a midnight double face coat with leather binding worn over a charcoal seamed jumpsuit and another, with a draped back, paired with satin straight pants; a fox fur and goat hair jersey jacket worn with lean pants; a tailored vest with leather piping over a black draped jersey gowns; and especially the finale comprised of 4 jersey gowns with macramé details (the dark blue asymmetrically draped number with a macramé embroidered sleeve especially stood out.)

FYI, both Jason Wu and Doo.Ri held their shows in the same far west Chelsea area, known for it’s art galleries. It’s an area used by many designers because the spaces are interestingly raw and large. That said, I don’t think there is any place in New York as difficult to get back and forth from, and it’s one of the hardest places to find a cab, especially on a freezing cold day in February. It’s great if you have a town car or limo at your disposal, but yesterday afternoon, I almost felt stranded, standing with dozens of other show goers, all of us trying to hail a cab, and was unable to. I eventually gave up and had lunch instead.

- Marilyn Kirschner

The Daily Bet by Rhonda Erb

Milly Minis by Michelle Smith

Milly designer, Michelle Smith, has designed a new line of dresses and coats that is sure to create a new generation of Milly fans. Milly Minis is a colorful collection of clothing with classic Milly styling for girls ages 2 to 7. Dresses range in price from $150 to $195 and coats range from $225 to $245. It just goes to show that you are never too young to be fashionably chic.

Available at:, Bergdorf Goodman, and specialty stores nationwide


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Friday, June 05, 2009

‘Wu’ ing the Crowd

(All photos: Randy Brooke)

Jason Wu has admittedly had quite a year, thanks not only to the press (he is up for the CFDA Swarovski Award for Womenswear, along with Thakoon Panichgul and Alexander Wang, the results of which will be announced on June 15th during the festivities at Lincoln Center), but of course, the ongoing support of Michelle Obama. The First Lady is not only an avowed fan and customer, but helped catapult him to worldwide fame when she selected his long white gown for the Inaugural Ball. Among other ‘endorsements’, she appeared on the cover of the March issue of Vogue wearing a fuchsia dress by the designer, and selected one of his coat and dress ensembles for that now famous trip to Europe with the President back in April.

He was also one of a handful of designers to present a formal Resort 2010 show this past week. But instead of using his showroom, a well known hotel room, or a predictable hall, as his venue of choice, he wisely opted for two rather intimate (if not downright ‘civilized’) back to back showings at the decidedly out of the way, under the radar, Greenwich Hotel. Located on a quiet cobblestone street in Tribeca, it is only a year and a half old, but boasts old world charm, elegance, and European ambience (all of which were apparent in the room he used for the showings, which was adjacent to a beautiful courtyard, where waiters served guests drinks and elegant hors doevres; it made me think I was in Paris). It was apparently selected by the designer because (as he told Fashion Week Daily), he likes “the environment down there - it’s like the city away from the city.”

I must admit I was especially intrigued when I read that the collection was inspired by Iris Apfel, the fashion icon whose eccentric, colorful sense of style was immortalized when the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute mounted ‘Rara Avis’ several years ago. I am a huge fan and had the pleasure of interviewing the fab octogenarian for our Masters of Fashion Interview Series awhile back.

Granted, the designer warned Fashion Week Daily that his collection is not “literally taking the way she wore things but making spirit and the mood in a way that’s very much in line with what I do”. But based on his admission that he has always loved her “style of piling everything but the kitchen sink”, I assumed there’d be more of an apparent connection. While I thought the collection was beautifully executed and very much in keeping with the mood of the moment (and Mr. Wu’s feminine aesthetic), quite frankly, it was a bit of a stretch for me to really find any parallels between Wu and Apfel within the 20 piece lineup which was filled with wispy chiffon, tulle, jersey, crosshatched tweed draped separates, tulip skirts, coatdresses, trenches, envelope sleeved tops, corseted and peplumed waists (much of it very very short and rendered in soft, barely there colors, sometimes hit with strong ‘highlighter’ shades of yellow, green, cobalt, fuchsia, and red). There certainly wasn’t a “random pileup of accessories”, as aside from the chic customized Bruno Frisoni high heeled sandals (in arresting and graphic combinations of black with gray, cobalt, yellow, and red) the only jewelry shown was the ‘real deal’, courtesy from Van Cleef & Arpels. And no, Mrs. Apfel was nowhere in sight.

-Marilyn Kirschner

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Jason ‘Wu’s’ the Crowd

Photo: Randy Brooke

Tapei born, Parson’s grad Jason Wu was 23 years old when he burst on the scene for spring 2007 and has been garnering his share of attention ever since; he is unquestionably, one to watch. On Wednesday afternoon, he showed his short (20 pieces and many of them were SHORT: dresses, skirts, shorts), sweet (yet not cloyingly sweet), yet sophisticated resort collection, in an inviting and very civilized café style setting. Guests (including Constance White, Laurie Schechter, Patrick McDonald) were seated at small round bistro tables and were served champagne while they watched the quick and to the point formal runway collection.

Not only was the clothing easy on the eyes; the venue of choice, The Park, (located 10th Avenue and 17th street), with its trees, greenery, and light airy atrium feeling, was correspondingly pleasant as well and the perfect setting to show an easy, breezy, and airy resort line. Of course, the weather outside (sunny blue skies albeit cool and breezy) didn’t hurt. All I could say it’s lucky for him that he hadn’t scheduled this for Monday (as did Luca Luca and Oscar de la Renta), when Hurricane Barry hit these parts causing flooding and traffic delays around town.

Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

Hallmarks of the line were its chicly neutral color palette (ivory, ecru, mauve, lilac, grey, navy, black); soft and drapey fabrics (chiffon, organza, silk charmeuse) which played off the stiffer silk twill, silk faille and silk taffeta);

Photo: Randy Brooke

lingerie touches; and the light handed, delicate details (hand appliqués, feathered edgings, petals, tulip ruffles, multi layering, pleats and micro pleats, pin-tucks, and trickling mirror finished sequin embellishment). Nothing was forced or overdone; it was all subtle and easy.

Photo: Randy Brooke

Standouts include the black chiffon shift with hand appliquéd chiffon petals and feathered edging; the silk twill and organza color block dress with multi layered skirt; an ecru silk twill one shouldered dress with plaid binding; a silk plaid sheath shown under an ecru silk twill ¾ sleeve coat pleated coat; the lilac organza top shown over silk plaid Bermuda shorts; and several dresses with asymmetrical hems including the layered silk organza ‘Degas’ dress with a black taffeta bow back.

--Marilyn Kirschner