Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 7: A Masterly Demo of How It's Done

The Spring 2012 Chado Ralph Rucci show was very educational. Look (at snippets) and learn by watching the video below. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

HEAD’S UP: I repeat, it is officially 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 Yours Truly witnesses, from shows to trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre. It should go without saying, but it shan’t – this won’t be a comprehensive list simply because a body can’t be everywhere. But, of course, depend on one’s best effort. Drum roll, please …

Day 7
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): 3.1 Phillip Lim, Anna Sui, B Michael America, Chado Ralph Rucci, Dennis Basso, Douglas Hannant, Elie Tahari, Francesc by Frank Tell, Focus Taiwan, Gap, Hemma Collection, J. Mendel, Jeremy Scott, Josie Natori, Juan Carlos Obando, Julian Louie, Michael Kors, Milly by Michelle Smith, Nanette Lepore, Nomia, Norma Kamali, Philosophy, Ports 1961, Proenza Schouler, Reed Krakoff, Rochambeau, Shamask, Wayne

CHADO Ralph Rucci
presented a master class yesterday in how to design a collection.

In fact Ralph Rucci's Spring 2012 collection is masterful, marvelous, magnificent. Any other superlative that suggests greatness would be appropriate. Those who did not fill some of the empty seats in the Theatre tent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York missed a very important teachable moment.

Two of the simplest pieces – A-line dresses, one in white (with tulle detail resembling the Eiffel Tower) the other in nude (with an embossed fabric on the yoke) – in what is easily the Best Overall Show of the day are inspired.

The most basic pant, dress or gown can have showstopper appeal if superbly constructed from the best fabrics, when no detail is too small to address, when not even a hint of a pucker is present. As CRR’s program notes inform, designer RR has been doing this for 30 years.

“Rucci believes he was born to create his chosen m├ętier and continually strives to inspire all who seek refinement, beauty and tranquility in the world of fashion,” the notes state. “He will always cherish experimentation in cut, proportion and construction …”

One in attendance expressed boredom with the over reliance on Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” a muscial composition many artists use to suggest importance. It is appropriate here. The series of white ensembles (with two peeps of engaging gray python) that opened the collection signaled that CRR means business.

The Milly by Michelle Smith Spring 2012 collection takes as a reference point an artist who favored bold colors and geometric shapes. Photo by Ileana Garcia Jacolow/ASJAIS Images.

Throughout the show the models walked slowly, allowing those close enough to see details. The wave on the wool crepe jacket in nude, the tulle and plastic inset resembling a zipper on the black wool crepe dress and shrug combo and the feathers on a nude-colored tunic shown with a beaded catsuit. This latter is one of several that won cheers.

The intermittent use of plastic cutouts, except on the smart raincoat tunic, is incongruous. And while the nude cigalline/horsehair flounce dress is beautiful, it is also bulky and won’t flatter most figures. These anomalies, not withstanding, there is much to swoon over in this collection. Surely, the well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show is proof of this.

BEST INTERPRETATION OF A VISION – Following Chado Ralph Rucci is much like following Aretha Franklin. To her credit Michelle Smith, who designs the Milly line, does a lot of print work so the eye won't be too burdened by such business as cut, proportion and construction. That is not to say that they are lacking, they are simply not in the rarefied air of CRR. MS, however, is a master-craftswoman-in-the-making. She managed to hold her own in a collection that pays homage to the artist Sonia Delaunay, who is noted for her bold colors and geometric shapes. MS doesn’t copy SD color for color or shape for shape, instead paraphrasing nicely. The result is a feminine, clever, bookish collection that combines in delightfully engaging tableaux prints&prints, prints&solids, prints&stripes, stripes&solids, prints&stripes&solids. Part of the scheme, too, are the fetching Milly by Michelle Smith handbags in bold, complementary colors.

An ensemble from the Spring 2012 Anna Sui collection. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

Of particular note is the azure Milano stitch sweater-jacket w/stripped lapel and azure cotton pique shell print dress combo. The dress (azure/white print) and scarf (azure/brown/blue print) mesh extremely well. The people from Bloomingdale’s sitting nearby were singling out the cobalt stitch cardigan/geometric long dress combination, one in a series of 10 cobalt-themed ensembles that opened the proceedings.

More details shortly from Day 7, including observations about Anna Sui, Michael Kors and Nanette Lepore.

On deck today, last day (Day 8) : Ralph Lauren, Guli, Sergio Davila, Calvin Klein Collection, Naeem Khan, Made in Africa: By Arise Magazine, Elene Cassis, Vassilios Kostetsos

Visit and to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York and to see live and taped streams of the shows.

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