Saturday, September 12, 2015

NYFW: The Shows Day 2 – Here’s an Adjective That Doesn’t Normally Apply to Custo Barcelona; Betsey Johnson is Golden; Zang Toi Has You Covered (Exquisitely) for Your Island Vacation; From the Academy (of Art University), More Glimpses of the Future

Some of the players on Day 2: CG, Gabriela Hearst, Wes Gordon, Jonathan Cohen, Visvim, Jason Wu, Yigal Azrouel, Novis, Kate Spade, Ida Cohen, Custo Barcelona, Zimmermann, Tanya Taylor, Rosie Assoulin, Sally LaPointe, Betsey Johnson, Karigam,Polo, Cushnie et Ochs, Giulietta, Max Gengos, Pamella Roland, Kye, Ryan Roche, Nicole Miller, Givenchy, Zang Toi, Chromat, Academy of Art University

ONE encounters a legend of prints whenever taking Custo Barcelona under consideration. In a good way, in the main.

For S/S 2016 at New York Fashion Week: The Shows, it is the same. Yet, there is a differentness. It has taken a few passes of players in the new line to suss it out. Dare one utter such a characterization of a Custo Barcelona collection?

One dares. It is elegant. For women, anyway. Men are a bit of an afterthought. “Carefree elegance,” are their key words for the new collection, drawing heavily on the label’s playbook.

Meanwhile, on the women’s side, it is called “Slow,” taking cues from the zeitgeist in the culinary movement to return to and enjoy slow cooking. The dizzying array of patterns – it’s in there.
However, it seems that more elegance is imparted by also relying on small, solid blocks of color here and there. Another device is occasionally pulling back a print or two, creating a more coherent, polished tableaux.

One can get used to this.

From the Custo Barcelona S/S 2016 collection. Photos by Yours Truly.

Zang Toi

Though Zang Toi S/S 2016 is inspired by a volcanic Greek Island, the collection is a meditation on serene elegance. A playlist of soothing music– including some Maria Callas favorites – further set the tone.

The stunning opening series of whites – pantsuits, tunics, dresses, blouses – in various high-thread-count cottons is the embodiment of Zen. Accessible where white can often imply frigidity, the peasant blouses with their oversized sleeves, in particular, suggest an invitation to watch one of the breathtaking sunsets for which the towns and villages of Santorini Island are known.

Another ironic twist is the minimalist quality of the collection. Where ZT could have indulged in an overabundance of stitching and beading to conjure the splendors of this patch of God’s green earth, he chooses instead to employ mere touches, deferring to scale.

For instance, only the cap sleeves of an ocean blue (navy) woven silk sheath are covered by hand-beaded sequins in ocean green. Elsewhere, an ocean blue Maria Callas great coat bears the same ocean green sequins in a block of space near its hem.

Incidentally, ZT keeps the color palette simple too – mainly white, turquoise and navy, with splashes of green. It’s a tranquil setting.

Betsey Johnson

WE can all but hope that we have the zest for life (and flexibility) that Betsey Johnson does when we’re 73.

It is not clear whether a S/S 2016 collection, titled “The Curious Case of Betsey Button,” was created or whether the cartwheeling, side-splitting, high-kicking designer raided her trunks. Tutus, tiaras, chains, cutouts, fishnet stockings, prairie dresses …

In paying homage to her 50th year in the ragtrade, the punk grand dame showed nightclub-inspired looks from each of the five decades in roughly descending order, introducing each in rhyme over an intercom

The models, God help them, how bland! BJ may have plucked drag queens and transgenders to do her on-stage dancing, vamping, vogueing and posing as each era was introduced.

Still, it’s Betsey, so there is always fun nearby. Happy 50th Betsey. And many, many, many more!

Academy of Art University

The San Francisco-based Academy of Art University (AAU) always represents a breath of fresh air at New York Fashion Week

Each season, AAU – celebrating 10 years at NYFW with S/S 2016 – brings a crop of students showing their thesis collection. Incidentally, these are not mere vanity projects to fulfill curriculum requirements.

AAU grads work with some of the top names in fashion. Alexander McQueen, Banana Republic, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs are among them.

Last night, Livia Bianda and Wenhan Yuan showed two of the strongest collections. Remember these names.

On deck today, Day 3: Adam Lippes, Lacoste, Misha Nonoo, Jill Stuart, Noon by Noor, Emerging Designers Collective, Osklen, Dion Lee, Rebecca Minkoff, Herve Leger by Max Azria, Tibi, Tsion Rocks by Yvette Crocker, Skingraft, Mara Hoffman, Ji Oh, Christian Siriano, Francesca Liberatore, Designers’ Collective, E Sosa, Santa Clara Moda, Chrisber’Y, Anthony Rubio, Marco Marco, Banana Republic, Collina Strada, Monique Lhuillier, Frank B Hollywood, Baby Ghost, Altuzarra, Son Jung Wan, Amiat by Tamil Robinson Group,

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: The Shows, including show information, videos and installations.

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