Sunday, February 13, 2011

Day 3 NYFW: A Masterful Redux for the Age

A silk print dress from the Vivienne Tam Fall 2011 collection. Photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HEAD’S UP: It’s now a tradition at VEVLYN’S PEN. The plan each day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is to give a roundup of the best (and worse where applicable) and most interesting, from shows to trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre. This go round Yours Truly has a wingwoman in the person of Dame Francesca Simon. Even with two of us, though, we really, really can’t be everywhere. But we will be where something is happening and will keep you in the loop. Drum roll, please …

Day 3
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): ADAM, Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Binetti, Band of Outsiders, Charlotte Ronson, Daryl K, Edun, Elise Øverland, General Idea, G-Star, Jill Stuart, Kimberly Ovitz, Libertine, Maisonette 1977, Mandy Coon, Mik Cire, Prabal Gurung, Suno, United Bamboo, Toni Francesc, Vivienne Tam


Enter the dragon. Vivienne Tam drew on the drama of the ancient Chinese theater, mythology and symbolism to create a modern-day feast. The dragon, long a symbol of good luck in the Chinese tradition, took centerstage for a show that was smooth, seamless and without a single stitch out of place.

The art of ancient culture was masterfully replicated in fashion from the motifs of stylized wind, fire and clouds to create intricate visuals that were interwoven with deft design.

One of a number of jackets from the Fall 2011 Vivienne Tam collection inspired the Chinese opera.

“My starting point is the elaborate costumes of the Kun [600 year-old Chinese opera],” VT explains in the run of show. “The sculptural shapes of the opera are translated, turned into everyday wear in tweed, wool, for both day or night … Silhouettes include the graceful water sleeve, an opera-cape shoulder, reminiscent of a pagoda.”

The pagoda, an architectural icon of the Orient, is used as a foundational structure for a series of coats, jackets and vests. The tiered tower structure, common in temples in China, Japan, Korea, Nepal and other parts of Asia were realized in peaked shoulders and carved-out collars. They had a sculptural quality and were constructed with blue and black tweed.

The statue of royalty was translated into a modern expression with rich silk serving as the medium for “Emperor Robe” creations on print silk dresses with subtle dragon-face and cloud designs.

The artistry of the collection was epitomized by the “Black Imperial” multi-fabric slash patchwork sheath, an intricate multi-dimensional piece with silk appliqués on what looks like a wool foundation.

The “Black Dragon” theme played out in beautiful embroidered tank dresses emblazoned with sparkling crystals, projecting light out of the darkness of the black fabrics.

And the mention for best use of color goes to ... Toni Francesc. Stay tuned for more deets.

The interplay of the yin and yang – an ancient Chinese symbol of a circle that is half black and half white – the balance of light and darkness, the feminine and masculine was present throughout the collection. One of the best expressions of this is through a cream wool blanket coat with dragon and cloud appliqués and a removable high black fur collar.

VT’s adaptation of the bright colors of the opera costumes of another era to today’s aesthetic was brilliantly manifested in the “Black Dragon” embroidery tank dress. It is embellished with jet crystals and intricate black embroidery highlighted by a blazing red fabric base underneath. A “Red Dao Ma Dan Warrior Woman” is a sequined, print wedding dress with a blend of red and blue fringe. Both were rich and hip!

The designer has immortalized a centuries-old tradition in a fashion that is sexy, exciting, intriguing, wearable and empowering for 21st century women.

BEST SOUNDTRACK/COLLECTION COMBO – On the box was a melange of house, techno-house, club mix and rap. The joint was jumpin’, and some folks would have been jumpin’ off, except that this was a fashion show, not a disco.

These were the types of jams befitting the urban street and club wear w/significant edge and massive cool that is G-Star Raw. This won’t play in Peoria nor does it want to play there. Gotta admire a guy turned out in a NY Raw new Charlie pant. For squares, these beltless pants are held up by a cord attached to the jacket you'd be wearing if you had a clue. Over the jacket is a Logan gilet. From the back the pants look like overalls. And, yes, to the untrained eye slightly geeky. Trust, they are not. They may be held up by a string but they have swagger. So, too, does the heather gray NY Raw foxton overall for girls. It slouches around the waist and rear, rather than hugging any parts too tightly. From the second row it looked comfortable, and nothing about it had the air of tartness.

A frontier dress from the Fall 2011 G-Raw collection.

Speaking of air, there is the frontier dress. Ah, the frontier – brings to mind flowers, grass, open spaces and some barren ground. At G-Star Raw a frontier dress can be blue or black leather. It is an A-line affair with an empire waist and Nehru-like collar. Designer Pierre Morisset discarded the prints and retained the shape. The result is a frock that a p.r. maven or art curator might wear.

Memories of Nicholas K bubbled up during the G-Star Raw show. Where the former is more laidback and relaxed, the latter tends toward controlled mania. Both are urban to the core but appeal to different sensibilities. Think of Nicholas K as Los Angeles and G-Raw as New York. Or Nicholas K as Superman and G-Raw as Batman. A picture begins to form, no?

If not, just feel the music. – By Yours Truly, Vevlyn Wright

More from Day 3 shortly. Meanwhile see shows/highlights:

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