Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 5: Taking Cues From Sun and Cyclones

A dress from the Carolina Herrera Spring 2010 collection. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

HEAD'S UP: The plan each day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is to give a roundup of the best (and worse where applicable) and most interesting Yours Truly witnesses, from shows to trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre. Mind, this won’t be a comprehensive list simply because I can’t be everywhere. But depend on it, I’ll do my best. Drum roll, please …

Beauty, fun and creativity – sometimes inspired by the Great Recession, others a memory, object or determination to do better this time.


The Players (tent)
Carolina Herrera, Carlos Miele, Tracy Reese, Tadashi Shoji, Tony
Cohen, Gottex

The Players (elsewhere)
Jill Stuart, Donna Karan, Rad Hourani, Victor de Souza, Barbara Tfank, Yeohlee, J. Mendel, Julian Louie, Loris Diran, Sophie Theallet, Zac Posen, Marc Jacobs, Epperson, Logan Neitzel, Malan Breton, Lutz & Patmos

Carolina Herrera – The designer chatted easily and breezily with journalists on the red carpet at the premiere of “The September Issue.”In fact, she was almost giddy – only in a refined Carolina Herrera way, of course.

I wonder now whether her mood had anything to do with her pleasure with her collection. It is a wonderful tableau of color, fabric and shape – an example of beauty and refinement, like the lady herself, including the short shorts, not a Herrara signature. A few pieces are a bit rococo, but overall the collection informed by the Japanese basket is another Herrara triumph. Rather quite a number of successes here: the weave of a tea ceremony basket in a cotton/linen cream dress with asymmetrical neckline, three-quarter inch sleeves and corded belt. There appear to be all over the dress shards of a pale salmon fabric, creating a “cut velvet” effect. The many undertones of color in baskets are lushly recreated in a brown, silk brocade gown with straps that form an X-shape from the shoulder to the hip where they fall into a sash on either side. In Herrera's hands the bamboo strip materializes in several rust/orange outfits of silk/satin strips alternated with muted stripes, giving them added texture. In other places, strips (perhaps a linen blend) are crisscrossed, bunched, gathered and puckered, creating a pleasing bamboo floral pattern.

Loris Diran – The designer is saying “Goodbye and Thank you” to Coney Island, which he describes as his childhood playground. This “time of constant fear and anxiety” is responsible for his happy retreat to a time when life was only fun and games, and it translates well in this collection. The first four outfits are in eye-catching poppy (bright orange), and immediately lift the mood in the room at the Altman building. These are the happiest oranges I’ve seen all week. And the strong draping on a silk/cotton Voile blouse speaks to being overjoyed, while the formfitting cashmere sweater in navy and cream with a plunging V-neck suggests a man who has not only loosened his tie but tossed it and the shirt to allow for some breathing room, all the better to enjoy his leisure time. A black silk chiffon and chain Cyclone dress with silver, spaghetti strap shoulders and pleats suggest both waves and the undulating motions of a rollercoaster. Waves show themselves to good effect in the petals of a yellow, silk chiffon gown. Obviously, for Diran life’s a beach.

Thakoon Panichgul – Remember Thakoon (From August, see "September 'Issue' of the Devil"). Well, here he is again. Here he is using eye-catching jaunty prints to create hobo dresses and little after-5 numbers. And he is not afraid to mix four or five different florals at once in a combination of green, purple, black orange and so on in an unconstructed wrap dress that is a good companion for both doing errands and dinner.

Donna Karan – In a season of prints galore and bright colors, Karan, in her higher-priced line leans mostly on grey and white in linen, silk and chiffon. Happily, the result is fresh, sophisticated and simple. In other words, easy. These are not basic silhouettes, for Karan uses folds, cinches, huge necklaces, fringe, color gradation, deconstructed collars to make the demure colors stand apart where they might otherwise not. The silk grey/white color-gradated spaghetti strap gown with a sensitive and delicate fold on the breast, asymmetrical waistband and bias cut is a beauty. Yet, it looks utterly wearer-friendly and low maintenance, despite all of the bell and whistles. I’d forgotten until this collection what a sure, deft hand Karan has when she chooses to use it.

Marc Jacobs – I do not understand Jacobs’ point of view for spring. At first, I thought he was thinking about the circus – the white-face makeup and intricate eye shadow got me to thinking about mimes. But could it be a ballet? Broadway play? Then I just stopped trying to interpret military jackets paired with peasant dresses/and satin bras over cropped shirts, multiple layers a la a bag lady, and ruffles on shorts and dresses that looked like fish scales – well-done incidentally, if not some times overdone and over the top. Instead, I concentrated on the hair, which is gathered up on the models' head in a knot and the knot is encased in a kind of scrunchi. With all of the confusion about the clothes, one needn’t pull her hair out overthinking hair.

Barbara Tfank – The designer took a page out of Richard Avedon’s playbook and infused the spring collection with a joi de vivre that existed in some quarters of the country in the late 50s and early 60s. The A-line shapes, collared necklines and off-kilter colors strongly evoke that age of innocence. But what’s also striking here in this space at the Milk Gallery is that the models are presenting the clothes – in a continuous loop – for almost two hours. I am reminded of art show video presentations. It works there and it works here, all the better to see the intricacy of the trompe l’oeil lace.

Julian Louie – The sun from the seat of an airplane is a lovely sight and as good an inspiration as any. Artistically evoking the sun in its many moods and guises, Louie’s makeup team uses splashes of orange and a white (clouds) streak painted on the models’ noses and placed here and there on other parts of the face, including the hairline. The collection, too, is in a series of colors (soft orange, rust) evoking the sun. Some are all white, perhaps a reference to a cloudy day.

These fashionistas are wearing black T-shirts, tank tops and hooded shirts. They’re not on the catwalk but standing on the steps leading into the tents at Bryant Park. They are silent but their clothes are not: “The audacity of war crimes”; “Arrest Rumsfeld”; Arrest Cheney First” and so on. Meet some of the models, er, people from We Will Not Be Silent (info@wewillnotbesilent.net).

Why are they here, at Bryant Park, of all places, Yours Truly asks? Simple: “Because fashion is beauty and war is ugly,” one WWNBS member explains. And, of this they want to remind people, lest they forget while gawking at celebs and frocks. Another member explains that their presence here also represents a fusion of fashion and politics. By the by, they are not protesters. They are simply Americans exercising their right of assembly. This they gently explained to the guards who tired to shoo them – and them only – away from the steps. A bold fashion statement!

1 comment :

  1. Vevlyn,
    thanks for the mention! We will not be silent indeed! although I was pretty much that evening because I just had other things on my mind...
    visit me on Facebook:
    Morris Marshall


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