Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 6: She’s Come Undone and Through

Models in pieces from the 2010 Rodarte Collection. Photo by Rob Loud/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 …

Folds and drapes and prints and cut-outs and puffed sleeves and skirts. Has spring anything else to offer? Thankfully, yes.
The Players (tent)
Badgley Mischka, Brian Reyes, Dennis Basso, Pamella Roland, Max Azria, Narciso Rodriguez, Tibi, Tony Francesc

The Players (elsewhere)
Betsey Johnson, Christian Cota, G-Star, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Halston, Malandrino, Matthew Ames, Philosophy, Rodarte, Temperly London, Vera Wang

The models in the Rodarte show are walking down a runway through green fog wearing vacant expressions on their faces and on their arms tattoes that resemble both musical bars and cut velvet. Did they just survive the end of the world as we know it? Did God really set the whole thing (Death Valley) on fire, only sparing them – not even sparing the vultures? Did they just emerge victorious over unseen evil forces or surprisingly so over Narciso Rodriguez and Marc Jacobs as did Rodarte sibling designers, Kate & Laura Mulleavy, to capture the designer of the year award at the CFDA ceremony – hence their hypnotic state?

What’s sure is that they’ve been through it and the Mulleavys deftly convey it in one of the best and most imaginative collections of the week. The muted solids and prints intersect, crisscross and envelop each other in a series of pants, dresses and gowns (if they can be called that, as it is only strips of fabric that create the length) to recreate a landscape that has been ravaged by fire. One can almost smell the ash in the grey windowpane, plaid and animal prints. Patches of grass (pea green) not singed dot the landscape as does filthy water (polka dots and prints in white grey, yellow, black). The effect is a mesmerizing gothic quilt, not your mother’s. The snaking black and brown stripes (innards) that appear to be chiffon for day and leather for evening help complete the tableau, which looks very much like a flat landscape seen from the vantage point of an airplane. It’s a controlled fine mess, a really fine mess. WARNING: It’s not for everybody.

Tibi – It’s a party as the models sashay down the runway in familiar frocks with familiar silhouettes and named for familiar folks: Evangelista/Naomi/Schiffer. It’s Great Expectations, set in the ‘90s with that familiar cast and familiar soundtrack: Guns N’ Roses.

Toni Francesc – The bespectacled, curly-haired Spaniard opened his show with a nearly five-minute prelude of the sound of dripping water and he ended with water, his inspiration for a Bryant Park debut collection heavy on white, khaki and taupe, ebbing and flowing. But the finish that got the crowd excited was his walking to the end of the runway and posing for the photographers and sending the models back down the runway after their initial march. It was a good note on which to end Day 6.

Dennis Basso — While Dennis Basso was showing fur vests and boleros, his friends from NYC Animal Rights ( were protesting outside. One was carrying an embalmed fox. The designer, however, showed only a little fur, focusing mainly on after-5/evening dresses and gowns in chiffon, silk jersey and reptile. The series of bubble skirts, though, were transportive, evoking a night at the ballet where you are the dancer or audience member. The little taupe affair with multi-colored sequins and paillettes – ah!

Narciso Rodriguez – To match some of the flowing silhouettes that appeared to be riding the wind was hair pulled back and tucked at the lower crown. It looked aerodynamic, sort of like the helmets of the Lance Armstrongs.

Behind Yours Truly in the crush of well-wishers going backstage at the Rodriguez show is Courtney Love whose purse is stabbing me in the back while she waxes thusly: “I have to sell a lot of records. I have to get the German market; I have to get the Japanese market.” Don’t know what that was all about, but that’s what the lady said. Incidentally, for those who may be wondering how she looks, I think that she’s looking the best she can be looking, considering. And I will leave it at that.

Mickey Rourke, my favorite bad-boy actor, going backstage to give his regards to Max (Azria) after the show. Did he ask to be whisked by us mere mortals as if we had stink on us? No, he waited his turn like everybody else. Welcome back, Mickey!

Brian Reyes — BRINGING SEXY: After showing a collection of bras, bodysuits, dresses and shorts, Brian Reyes passed out condoms. The young designer was killing two birds with one stone: helping his clients practice safer sex and, promoting his collaboration with Proper Attire condoms.

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