Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day 2 MBFW: Looks Like Brighter Days Ahead

HEAD’S UP: Can you believe it's Fashion Week already? That respite between September and February seems very short, especially since press registration notices started arriving during the crush of the holiday shopping season. In any case, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York has returned for the Fall 2012 edition. At VEVLYN'S PEN, we are going to do things slightly different this season. I still endeavor to provide a roundup of the best, worst and most interesting Yours Truly witnesses, from trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre.

The change will be most apparent in show coverage. Where before I was doing a sort of "best of," I will tweak that this season and focus on what truly inspires me. Why the change? Simply put, I have grown weary of watching far too many collections that lack imagination because too much attention has been paid to the bottomline. If nothing inspires me, I will tell you so and tell you why. Let the games begin ...

Charlotte Ronson is more refined for Fall 2012. Photos courtesy of Charlotte Ronson.

Day 2
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): Academy of Art University, Ann Yee, Anne Bowen, Billy Reid, Brandon Son, Charlotte Ronson, Cushnie et Ochs, Doo.Ri, Emilio Sosa, The Greenshows - Collection Previews, General Idea, Gregory Parkinson, Helmut Lang, Jason Wu, Jen Kao, Katya Leonovich, NAHM, Nautica, Nicole Miller, Parkchoonmoo, Peter Som, Rag & Bone, Rebecca Minkoff, Rebecca Taylor, Rubin&Chapelle, St. John, Suno, Tess Giberson, Tommy Hilfiger Men's, Yigal Azrouel

Wow! moments dawned on Day 2 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York Fall 2012. Still, it was not a bad day. The forecast is two parts sun, one part clouds.

BEST INTERPRETAION OF A VISION – Designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs at
Cushnie et Ochs pay homage to Pedro Almodóvar's “The Skin I Live In.” The film starts Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon with Frankensteinian designs on an unsuspecting patient (Elena Anaya). The sexy, vixenish , sometimes dominatrix-ish pencil dresses and gowns bare nips, tucks, darts, cutouts, cording and coverups here, there and nearly everywhere. Is there really any difference between designers’ scissors and a surgeon’s scalpel? (See the video above.)

OTHER MENTIONABLES – For Fall 2012 Charlotte Ronson is not only dressing her grunge goddess, but also the uptown girl and the downtown bohemian. This collection for the confident woman, with emphasis on cableknit sweaters, floral, Aztec & graphic prints, wool&leather, as well as a smattering of chiffon, becomes fresh and relevant when the designer mixes the various components. The black leather/taupe wool pinstripe dress w/florals at the waist and bodice is an example. A few combinations, such as the belted chiffon dress in lilac with a graphic design and a wool hoodie in taupe with graphic design, show the kind of facility that Custo Barcelona owns when it comes to print mixing.

Nicole Miller has a lot in mind for Fall 2012. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

CR is most successful when she hues toward such alliances. After all, prints are the rows she hoes best. The gray series of knits and the leather-heavy red series toward the end are dominated by solids. While they are proof positive that CR is serious about adding a bit of polish to her finish, they have an ordinariness about them, slowing the momentum firmly set by the pert prints

Doo-Ri Chung hangs nice drapes. For Fall 2012 at Doo.Ri, the designer seems at her most confident in her draping, embodying the notion that practice makes perfect. She has not yet arrived but her hand is surer than ever in the form of the gray-multi sweater/bone squirt combo. Promise is shown elsewhere, too. The lattice work, namely on two dresses in teal and black, is eye-catching.

At Helmut Lang for Fall 2012, things are vibing. Designers Michael and Nicole Colovos are steady at the helm, the result a collection that goes futuristic. Yet it does not go too far where no man has gone before to take on true extraterrestrial dimensions. These are thoughtful, well-made garments for the urban cool as in the Klingon-like black belted and ruthlessly gathered jacket and black pajama pants.

What’s her point? Nicole Miller is harder to read for Fall 2012. On the one hand she’s flirting outrageously with the ‘60s. Could, she like so many others, be influenced by the Occupy Wall Street civil/economic/human rights movement? Then she seems to leapfrog into the ‘70s, next afield to the ‘90s, stopping in present-day. The result is a enigmatic kaleidoscope. Exhibit A: Purple hat (‘60s), chiffon print jacket with flared tale (‘70s/present-day computer print), chiffon blouse (timeless), leather miniskirt (circa ‘90s ). The effect? Somehow it works.

MOST DISAPPOINTING – Near legends have been awaiting the first collection of Season 7 “Project Runway” runner-up Emilio Sosa. It debuted last night at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studios with notables in attendance, including Artistic Emerita Judith Jamison. While thoroughly wearable, the collection lacks the excitement of what the five-time challenge winner produced on Project Runway. Perhaps, one should not reference that show too much. On the other hand, it is the vehicle that brought the uber-talented costume designer to the notice of the masses.

Academy of Art University grad Jeanette Au is a metal head. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Imges.

The lone standout here is the marine blue parka with Asian-type graphic. The rest is not terribly exciting. Another bright spot, though, is the color scheme: red, yellow, marine blue. Balancing the whole act are black strappy sandals and white socks. Looking forward to ES’ next.

UP AND COMERS – Since 2005, the San Francisco-based Academy of Art University has premiered the collections of recent graduates at Fashion Week New York. It is always a popular show. It also provides an opportunity to see what the future holds.

The future looks bright for Wu Di. The designer took a simple print, reminiscent of a church graphic and put it on the bodice of an ivory cashmere tweed top. The result elevated the top and skirt combo to the level of catchy. Clever is the cut-out effect that is created by the zipper involved in the ivory/charcoal wool gabardine top and stone heather double-face-wool vest pairing … Coco Chanel once said something to the effect that one should take one thing off before going out the door. This advice does not apply to menswear designer Donghyuk Dan Kin’s first vest. It has bells, whistles, zippers, this, that, the other – what a stew! – and it works … You know what mohair needs to bring it up higher? Mobejeweling, by jove! Jeanette Au received the memo in time to put a touch of metallic on her mohair series of dresses, coats, jackets, tops and skirts. Excepting the garnet mohair dress, coat and cape, it is a bright idea.

Popluxe & Parkchoonmoo
Photos by Frazer Harrison and Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

General Idea & Concept Korea
Photos by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

Brandon Son & AAU (Wu Di)
Photos by Frazer Harrison and Dario Cantatore/Getty Images.

On Deck today, Day 3: Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Band of Outsiders, Herve Leger by Max Azria, Jill Stuart, Lacoste, L.A.M.B., Mara Hoffman, Monique Lhuillier, Porter Grey, Prabal Gurung, Robert Geller, Rafael Cennamo, Ruffian, Son Jung Wan, Tibi, Vantan Tokyo, Venexiana, Wes Gordon

Visit http:// to learn more about Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including show information and videos.

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