Monday, February 11, 2013

MBFW Day 4: 'Beauty/Beast,' Custo Barcelona Style



HEAD’S UP: That turnaround between September and February always seems short. One is in the middle of the Yuletide season when the notice arrives about registering for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York! Well, here we are at Fall 2013 and a small change in the VEVLYN’S PEN approach to covering Fashion Week. We will still put emphasis on the truly inspirational on the runway and will only do a “best of” when it suits. We will also continue to endeavor to provide a roundup of the best, worst and most interesting Yours Truly (and others) witnesses, from trends to sightings to the rather unusual/bizarre. Now, for the changes. On some days we will provide a “snapshot” as we on 7 Feb. (http://www.vevlynspen.com/2013/02/mbfw-day-1-snapshot-todd-snyders.html). We will also comment on particular pieces from a collection that capture our imagination. Finally, at VEVLYN’S PEN, coverage may take the form of photos with comments underneath, including whether the picture subject tends toward a trend. How’s that? OK, off we go!

Day 4
(SOME of the players at the tents and elsewhere): A D√ČTACHER, BILLY REID, CARMEN MARC VALVO, CHADWICK BELL, CHARLOTTE RONSON, CUSHNIE ET OCHS, GREGORY PARKINSON, HELMUT LANG KATE SPADE NEW YORK, KATIE GALLAGHER, KELLY WEARSTLER, JASON WU, JENNI KAYNE, LYN DEVON, NICOLE MILLER, PIERRE BALMAIN, RAG & BONE, REBECCA MINKOFF, SALLY LAPOINTE, ST. JOHN, SUNO, TESS GIBERSON, THE ELDER STATESMAN, TOCCA, TOMMY HILFIGER, TRIBUNE STANDARD, YIGAL AZROU√čL

IT’S
never easy to describe a Custo Barcelona collection. It is no different for Fall 2013.

Custo Barcelona Beauty: And smartly dressed, too. Photos from Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

That written, one word that comes to mind is massive – nearly 70 ensembles. Another is muted. Part of what accounts for the latter is that it references fall-winter when colors are more subdued. Another explanation could be that designer Custo Dalmau is informed by Nordic winters and the notion of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Of course, the women are the beauties, and the men … well. Nothing in the collection looks remotelyl beastly, however. In fact, Yours Truly sat throughout this show on Day 4 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York wearing a Cheshire cat grin. Indeed, I imagine that I must have had the look of the cat who ate the canary or an ill-fated mouse.(See video above).

After a second look early this a.m., my eyes saw nothing in this collection that they did not like. Do I need my head examined? Don't answer; it's a rhetorical question. Allow me a moment to reiterate what I have before asserted about Custo Barcelona: It is not for everyone. No doubt, there were more than a few people in the show scratching their heads, wondering whether CD needs his head examined.

Custo Barcelona Beast: What a nice coat!

At Custo Barcelona, the beast often takes the form of a men’s coat made of various patterns and shapes with a gray background – no doubt meant to evoke the Nordic terrain in deep winter. Perhaps, the snow has been swept away before a fresh snowfall or simply dots the landscape, as in the belted coat/jacket of diverse prints, distressed leather at shoulder and matching pants. Most of the men's jackets are belted and come with matching trousers.

The Custo Barcelona beauty is wearing fewer layers, though it is frigid out. Her back, belly and legs are sometimes exposed. Beauty is meant to be seen, is it not? The very first look on the runway – a sweater dress (or tunic, depending on the point of view of the wearer), with funnel turtleneck and skirt of brown-multi patchwork – set and kept the tone. Holding it down, too, is the modish purple-brown-black fur jacket/sweater and purple-brown-black patchwork dress ensemble.

For those who get Custo Barcelona, it is a beautiful thing.

Far more accessible is Diane von Furstenberg’s declaration that "Life is a party." The DVF party girl/woman is off to somewhere partyful in her black wrap dress with leather detail on the lapels. Also taking her to delightful destination is the "effortless glamour" that informs her coat in pink/black metallic snake coating with leather at cuffs. Underneath is a copper metallic liquid jersey collared top and high-waist skirt in gold/black metallic snake coating with black satin piping and sundry other details.

Dressed for the party at Diane von Furstenberg.

DVF is not reinventing the wheel; she is simply keeping it polished. It looks good; it comfortable, and it's dependable. Always dependable and many other wonderful things is Chado Ralph Rucci. While his fall collection does not have the super-duper wow factor that has marked some in recent seasons, it is still magnificent. And it gets the distinction of the best show of the day.

When a frock is crafted so exquisitely using the best materials available by a master, it can be nothing less than magnificent or some other superlative. It deserves the applause it receives as was the case when a series of minks in assorted hues advanced at a leisurely pace down the runway. The designer gives what his program notes state: "refinement, beauty and tranquility in the world of fashion.”

Thank you, CRR.

A little something from the Chado Ralph Rucci craft factory.

On Deck today, Day 5: 3.1 PHILLIP LIM, ALICE + OLIVIA, ASSEMBLY, BARBARA TFANK, BELSTAFFICA HQ, BETSEY JOHNSON, BROOD, CAROLINA HERRERA, DONNA KARAN NEW YORK, DL1961, HERNAN LANDER, ICB BY PRABAL GURUNG, JIL SANDER NAVY, KAELEN, KAREN WALKER, KAUFMAN FRANCO, MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA, MARC BY MARC JACOBS, MATHIEU MIRANO, OHNE TITEL, PAMELLA ROLAND, REEM ACRA, THE ROW, THEYSKENS' THEORY, THOM BROWNE, TIM COPPENS, WES GORDON, YEOHLEE, ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO

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

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