Rag & Bone Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

Paint-spattered denim. Cargo pants. Lumberjack check, name-embroidered mechanics’ jackets, and pinstripe tailoring. And Cosby sweaters? At first, it was difficult to discern the through line in the new Rag & Bone collection. Indeed, speaking backstage before today’s show, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville themselves acknowledged that this season’s outing was “a mix of a lot of things,” and that was 100 percent true. And then, as the show settled in your mind, it hit you: This was a paean to the working man! Not just the working-class man, although his presence was keenly felt in those name-embroidered jackets, like the ones sported by Jourdan Dunn and Georgia May Jagger. But also the soldier, and the man of the land. Even the grandees in their pinstripe, heading to their shiny office towers, even they got a look-see, and so too the late-eighties, tracksuit-wearing, dole-collecting Madchester lad, who would have gone to work in the factory, if the factory hadn’t shut down. Paycheck men, all of them.

Moreover, Wainwright and Neville’s egalitarian vision was large enough to include a wisecracking obstetrician with a large, happy family who worked out of his Brooklyn brownstone. The squiggly “Cosby” knits were a standout here—a collaboration with Coogi, the Australian brand that made the original versions back in the eighties. The feral hand-knit jackets were another highlight, albeit one rather difficult to connect back to the theme. But then, who cares? Consistency is a virtue much overpraised, and that “working man” hypothesis is probably rubbish. This was a collection that was more about great pieces than any ambitious conceptual or aesthetic proposition. Mohair check hoodie? Want. Baggy cream-colored jeans paint-spattered by hand? Need. Baggy knee-high boots in red? Have to have. And that whole Joan Smalls look, head to toe. Start saving your pennies, working girls. There was a mix of a lot of things here you’re going to want to buy.



ZAC Zac Posen Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

For Fall, Zac Posen was determined to bring more separates into his reliable mix of ZAC Zac Posen frocks. “It adds a 9-to-5 balance,” said the designer in his Tribeca studio space, his team stitching away at the main collection in the sewing room next door. ZAC Zac Posen is his “secondary” offering, the one affordable enough for his evening-gown customer to buy multiple pieces of—a $1,000 day dress here, a $375 silk blouse there—and transform herself into a day-to-night Zac Posen woman.

The question is: Does she want that? Even when he’s making tops and bottoms, Posen likes his girl dressed up, which can look a little old-fashioned for day. Leather skirts and jackets, printed with a dark red plaid better suited to wool, just didn’t sit right. And to-the-rib-cage trousers, fashioned with multiple pleats at the hip to give them the silhouette of a long skirt, seemed impractical. The freshest looks were the long-and-short dresses and pussy-bow blouses in a pressed-flower print the color of a nectarine. They were polished but not too serious. The burnout knits, on the other hand, were too “granny’s attic” to really last in a working woman’s wardrobe. She’d much prefer one of his sharp blazers in herringbone stretch jacquard.

Lucky for her, Posen included a lot of distinctively seamed dresses and jackets. Those pieces were good enough to make more than a few of his special-occasion customers everyday ones, too.


Thakoon Addition Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

In recent seasons, Thakoon Panichgul’s secondary line, Addition, has grown beyond the pretty dresses and printed pajamas it started off with to include more menswear-inspired tailoring and fresh styling ideas. But where Panichgul piled on the layers for Pre-Fall, here he peeled them off. “It’s about taking foundation pieces and then twisting them so they look slightly disheveled, like they’re coming undone,” he said, describing a girl who tosses on her boyfriend’s oversize cardigan (with nothing underneath, naturally), plucks a skirt off the floor, and dashes out the door. Another sweater came nonchalantly shrugged off the shoulder, adding an edge to the kicky LBD it was paired with. Shirting has emerged as a strong category for the designer.

He showed crisp button-ups peeking out from cozy knits, and added poplin touches to the sleeves and hem of a snug blazer. Outerwear highlights included a hooded cape cut from gray banker’s felt, ombré plaid toppers, and a classic duffle coat. All in all, a strong Addition outing that shined ideas on themes—artful dishevelment, men’s shirting, statement coats—that we expect to see more of when the Fall shows get underway next week.


New York Fashion Week – Rachel Roy Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

The designer has relocated her family to Los Angeles. “What, really, do we have to do other than what’s right for ourselves?” she posed at a preview in her New York studio. In a way, the West Coast move has given Roy a fresh outlook on her business, which just turned ten years old. Her message for Fall was “to make looking feminine-but-cool as simple as possible,” she said. With this in mind, Roy offered several dresses that gave the impression of layered separates. For example, the fifth look appeared to be a lace slip worn underneath a floral V-neck top and slim navy pencil skirt; in fact, it was just one piece, just one decision for her customer to make instead of several. Throughout the lineup, Roy collaged together materials such as printed silk and delicate Chantilly on high-slit skirts, or Lurex-flecked tweed with iridescent jacquard on novelty suits. At times, the result felt a bit overwrought (the addition of metallic leather details didn’t help). Still, the handful of head-to-toe Venetian red looks here was nothing short of striking, and a gray wool topper was a nice fusion of the classic peacoat and a tough bomber jacket.


New York Fashion Week – Lisa Perry Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

Lisa Perry typically starts the design process by looking to one of her favorite pieces of artwork or an architect she admires. For Fall, her muse came from an unexpected place: Instagram. “His name is @donalddrawbertson, and he makes art out of gaffer tape,” said Perry, sitting on a bench in the middle of her Madison Avenue boutique, which had been taped up by the artist, whose actual name is Donald Robertson. (He also happens to be one of the founders of MAC Cosmetics.)

Robertson transformed Perry’s boutique into a white lacquered space covered with lines of black tape that formed scattered geometric shapes. The boots and heels worn by the models, designed in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, had a similar look. So it was wise that Perry stayed away from prints this season, save for a maze pattern that actually clashed quite nicely with the background.

Instead, she focused on silhouette, creating exaggerated versions of her favorite 1960s styles. A Kelly green felt trapeze dress had a back so broad that it was more like a cape, and a purple felt tunic dress was given more shape with rounded shoulders and a deep V-neck. Fabric was also a big consideration. Along with that aforementioned felt—which took color very well, and was also used to make several pairs of nice-fitting wide-leg trousers—Perry used a spongy gray jersey and a black perforated fabric with zero stretch. A fabric foil in the vein of Warhol’s silver clouds was used cleverly on an oversize sweatshirt. (It would have been too obvious on one of her classic shifts.)

The final look—a bubble dress in the perforated black fabric—appeared more like a skirt being worn as a shirt than an actual party frock. But for that misstep Perry can be forgiven. All in all, it was a strong collection, one that didn’t ring too costumey or overwrought.



Tia Cibani Fall 2014 Ready To Wear

“I’ve always wanted to reference the whirling dervishes,” said designer Tia Cibani on Tuesday at her sliver of a studio in New York’s Meatpacking District. For Fall, she did just that, turning to her native North Africa for more than a little inspiration.

Today, the runway at her show venue, the Prince George Ballroom—a grand ol’, just-decrepit-enough place—was lined with Moroccan rugs bought just across the street. Cibani’s team handed out Turkish delights as favors, and mint tea was served in the lobby. The clothes followed suit, most obviously with elongated felt fezzes made by New York milliner Joy Kim.

Each look was a study in layers and proportion. For instance, a pair of slim cupro pants—traditionally called churidar—were worn under an A-line caftan, and a cropped, chunky, hand-knit sweater was paired with an above-the-ankle ball skirt in a “Damascus rose” brocade. That same floral was rendered digitally on a long gown, which skimmed the body at the front but billowed into a cape at the back. “Collapsing volume,” Cibani called it.

Iris Apfel was also a muse. “I was feeling very magpie,” Cibani said. It came through in the multiple shapes and styles on offer, from a bergamot-colored coat nipped in at the waist with a leather belt to the leopard-print tunic and matching legging trouser in rusty red. Cibani managed to cast a burnished patina over the whole collection, giving each piece a sense of belonging.


Joie Spring 2014 Ready To Wear

According to Serge Azria, Joie‘s Spring ’14 collection was all about celebrating—and elevating—white. “I wanted to make white not so simple,” said the contemporary label’s creative director and CEO during the presentation, which marked the twelve-year-old brand’s second New York fashion week effort. Joie’s new lineup was a palette cleanser, offering a host of easy separates and frocks in every tint of Azria’s chosen hue. He contrasted a stark white elongated blazer with a romantic pleated silk skirt in soft eggshell. Similarly, a sporty bright white sailing jacket popped against an oatmeal and black striped sweater.

Elsewhere, Azria enriched the shade with varying textures, like eyelet—used for a high-waisted cotton pencil skirt—or slick leather, which looked best as a pair of cropped, flair-calf trousers. The concept was applied to accessories, too—for instance, pointed cream and tan leather flats were laser-treated, causing them to look like they were made from stingray.

Inspired by a recent trip to Ponza, an island off the Amalfi Coast, Azria injected his Spring range with an air of vintage Italiana. One linen dress with a fitted skirt and blousy bodice that revealed just enough of the model’s décolleté was simultaneously effortless and va-va-voom. The Mediterranean inspiration also moved Azria to include pops of cerulean and navy. “All of the houses in Ponza were white and the doors were all blue. It looked like a painting!” he recalled. The scene was re-created in his Chelsea show space. He worked indigo into bold stripes, which ran down a three-quarter-length skirt, a billowing short-sleeved blouse, and a structured workwear jacket. An azure brushstroke print on a flippy little jupe was lovely, and a navy drawstring skirt—which was basically a silk, feminine alternative to sweatpants—looked particularly comfortable. Most of the spaghetti-strap and short-sleeved crop tops—while sweet on the models—will be near impossible to wear if you’re of normal human proportions. But a bouncy, open-back A-line frock had “summer classic” written all over it.


Céline Spring 2014 Ready To Wear

Back to the Tennis Club de Paris today to see what Phoebe Philo’s Céline woman has been up to. And, according to the mood book on each brightly colored, blocky seat, she has been looking at graffiti—not just any graffiti, but graffiti through the medium of Brassaï’s photographs, obviously. In the primal black and white images of street art found in the city of Paris there was a distinct clue to the mood of the collection.

As the first vividly hued silhouettes emerged, the models walking at a brisk clip to the underlying beat of George Michael’s “Freedom,” the feeling was bold, bold as Brassaï, if you will. But this wasn’t to be a retread of a famous Versace moment. The overlocking song was that Soul II Soul staple “Back to Life,” put through something of the wringer, with all its lazy, hazy connotations of summer in the late eighties. And the collection, too, had the immediacy of that song—and perhaps a bit of a debt to the band’s former shop in Camden, where leather Africa pendants were sold in large quantities.

The color palette had that late-eighties feel of something primary, urgent, graphic. Giant strokes and squiggles dominated in tailored T-shirt shapes over striped sunray pleats. At first, the Céline woman was like a Tony Viramontes illustration sprung to life. But what gave the clothes a real third dimension was the fabric experimentation; here, woven jacquards and knits dominated over prints and were beautifully done. The Céline woman became more intriguing, though, in her embrace of a certain ragga style in the elongated string vest looks, especially when these were layered with a yellow jumper tied around the waist just so. Then she was out of the dance hall and on. Like we said: brisk clip.

Yet, the last eight looks were the best of the collection. They didn’t feel as if they were in the sway of any history or reference point. Utilizing the large T-shirt silhouette, with a cutout in an abstract, metal-rimmed shape revealing the contrasting tunics layered underneath, then ending in a burst of cheesecloth skirt, these particular looks were outstanding.

Perhaps the undercurrent of sensual perversity of the last two seasons has dissipated from the

Céline woman this time. But it seems she will never be that uptight or controlled again; this
show was free, easy, and fun. This mood might be familiar, having already been set in motion by Dior’s Couture collection earlier this year (fashion’s tribes are clearly in the ascendant this season), but it also felt like a collection sprung from real life, from real experiences with a teenage immediacy. Philo defined it as being about “power to women. It was inspired by lots and lots of feelings. It felt like the right time to move on. I never really analyze; it is just what is there inside.” And perhaps that’s the real power of the Céline woman now: She comes from the heart, not the head.




Chloé Spring 2014 Ready to wear

Chloé has become the go-to place for a certain girl’s wardrobe, for something polished with punch. An English, boyish discipline added to the French finesse of the house has been in the ascendant. But today the concentration moved more toward the French side, and the more overtly feminine feel of a certain kind of French style. The music might have been loud drum and bass, with all of its hard, mid-nineties London connotations, but this collection felt decidedly rooted in Paris.

“A girl more sensual than before” is how Clare Waight Keller, the creative director of Chloé, defined the muse of her new collection. Softening the boyish toughness she has introduced at the house while not completely eliminating it had been the goal, and she largely succeeded.

Waight Keller seemed primarily concerned with making her point through fabric choices: “A sense of sensuality through transparency,” she said before her show. And there were indeed great fabrics in the collection: super-matte georgette; a patchwork jacquard; light quilting; a rough, more geometric lace. They all added to a certain sense of tough sensuality for the season, as did the more angular silhouettes.

Yes, tight accordion pleats were in evidence in this collection, too. This is the season of the Pleats, Please revival—after it had been Pleats, No Thanks for years. But the Chloé pleated garments were some of the best around. Among the strongest pieces were the tapered-leg khaki trousers with ankle ties, the khaki dress defined by Waight Keller as “flag shaped” with a deep V, and the inset pleats featured in a blue patterned dress, giving a dynamic effect. And the most sensual garment of the collection was pleated, too—a white dress with arm ties, split high at the sides, worn with silk cami-knicker-style shorts. Clare Waight Keller has not produced anything quite that sexy before.

If this collection didn’t quite reach the heights of last season, it really shined in its more boyish and playful moments, such as in the final inset-chain pieces. Overall, it was another accomplished offering at the house, and Chloé’s consistency is no mean feat.



Chanel Spring 2014 RTW

Karl Lagerfeld had a great last  summer: The sun shone, Choupette was happy, creative juices geysered. The concept and the clothes for his new collection came together at the same time. Art! You can scarcely pick up a magazine or newspaper these days without coming across something about the volatility of the art world, the millions that are being spent in the getting of pictures on which the paint is scarcely dry. It’s become a huge oligarchical pissing contest, with the annual art fair in Basel, Switzerland, its most competitive arena. And Lagerfeld, antennae attuned to every wrinkle of the here and now, didn’t miss a trick with his Chanel/Basel mash-up today. Right there on the soundtrack: Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby,” with its accompanying video ripe with images of art-world grandees lining up at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea so they could bask in Hova’s glory.

The Grand Palais was transformed into a gigantic white-walled hangar of paintings and sculptures—quintessential Basel or Frieze—all seventy-five of them made by Lagerfeld during his Summer of Prodigious Creativity. He didn’t actually make them himself—that feat would be too Olympian even for Karl—but he drew the pieces or made maquettes so his studio could
realize the finished product. Just like Jeff Koons. And, as with Koons, Karl’s reference points were identifiable, though he cleverly twisted them so they each included some element of Chanel: a camellia, a pearl, a bottle of No. 5. Some of them had red dots beside their titles, like they’d already been sold. Postshow, he wearily insisted he had no intention of doing any such thing; he’d already been asked a thousand times, just like he’d been asked to sign the whole lot.

The coming together of concept and design was clearly responsible for the way Lagerfeld’s heme infected his collection to a greater degree than usual. “Transformative!” was Koons’ response at Stella McCartney’s show the other day when he was asked about the common ground between art and fashion, and the transformations the Chanel atelier achieved with the signature tweeds were nothing short of art. In fact, they weren’t even tweed as we know it: They were some indefinable multi-processed hybrid of de- and reconstructed stuff that was then mounted on tulle to create outfits that were identifiable as iconic Chanel. Phew! And you can only imagine Lagerfeld’s delight at fooling all of the people all of the time.

Deconstruction, trompe l’oeil, collage, bricolage—this Chanel collection was a fest of art processes. You never get the sense that Lagerfeld is pushing himself; he makes everything lookmuch too easy for that. Nevertheless, in the ninety-ish looks he showed today, there were more stories than he would usually be bothered to tell. For instance, a paint chart from the 1900s yielded a whole group of primally Pantone-ed pieces. They were something quite new for Chanel. There were great things that looked like they’d been scissored from charcoaled canvas—again, in keeping with the theme but intriguingly raw for Chanel. And Lagerfeld’s
collaborators kept the dream alive with their impeccable contributions. Sam McKnight’s wigs were paintbrushes-cum-Darth Vader helmets of hair. Peter Philips’ makeup looked like an artist had wiped his brushes on eyelids instead of on clothes or canvas. Macabre maybe, but one more Chanel pointer to the transformative art of fashion at its most far-reaching.


ADEAM Spring 2014 RTW

When Hanako Maeda launched ADEAM (an inversion of her last name) back in 2011, she chose to accent the label’s logo with a plum flower taken from her family crest. Fittingly, nature has served as a continual source of inspiration for the young designer since the beginning. For Fall, Maeda conjured up a modern woodland fairy tale. She referenced Japanese cherry blossoms
during Resort, and used hydrangeas as the jumping-off point for her latest lineup today. Riffing on that theme, she developed an interesting, shibori-effect pattern by manipulating hydrangea cells viewed underneath a microscope.

The blown-up biological print was shown on feminine pieces like an A-line cap-sleeve dress and a pair of shorts with sheer fabric peeking out from underneath the hem. Maeda also embroidered petals along the sides of a kicky navy miniskirt. If the collection sounds very sweet, it was indeed—particularly the flirty frocks that mixed together eyelet lace and delicate organza. Still, “every rose has its thorn,” as Maeda pointed out backstage before her presentation at Lincoln Center. “All beautiful things have a darker strength, too. I wanted to do pretty pastels in grayer, washed-out tones,” she said. Working in that palette, she toughened things up a bit by including more menswear-inspired silhouettes and clean lines. A slim tailored suit looked fresh styled with a structured wool bra top underneath, and longer, lilac-colored leather shirts tapped into current trends. Overall, it was a carefully considered, easy-to-wear collection. The only remaining question is, what will be in bloom at ADEAM next season?


Jill Stuart Spring 2014 RTW

While she was vacationing in Patmos this summer, Jill Stuart found herself “thinking about rock stars’ girlfriends—particularly ones from the seventies—on holiday, and then they go back to the city and put on a leather skirt,” she said backstage after her Spring runway show today. With that in mind, Stuart conjured up a modern-day Marianne Faithfull—perhaps a cool, carefree girl like Lily Aldridge—lounging beachside in a thigh-grazing embroidered caftan or a diagonal-striped terry pullover tossed over her bikini. At night, she’d slip into a flirty mesh baby doll, smudge her eyes with kohl, and bound out for a concert or soirée.

While Stuart worked mostly in signature feminine fabrications like eyelet lace and appliquéd organza, the silhouettes here were definitely sexed up—and occasionally a tad too suggestive. Gauzy bold-shouldered crop tops (yes, that trend is still going full speed this season) were paired with kicky miniskirts, and polished denim pieces including a mod shift felt more street-ready than most of Stuart’s signature sweet wares. On the sultrier side of the spectrum, several frocks that were both super-short and super-sheer weren’t exactly the kind of thing you’d wear to dinner at your boyfriend’s parents’ house. Ditto goes for a little black leather dress with a plunging-to-the-sternum neckline, particularly when worn with towering wooden-wedge heels. Those naughtier numbers aside, the lineup successfully presented modern ideas to Stuart’s contemporary, fashion-forward customer.


Adam Lippes Spring 2014 RTW

Adam Lippes now on his third collection. the designer has already established a clean and sophisticated, feminine tone for the brand. And so it seemed like Lippes was throwing us a curveball when he claimed this season’s inspiration was lowrider culture—big in Mexico, California, and now Brazil—which revolves around tricked-out cars with flashy paint jobs and dazzling chrome rims, and cholo-chic fashion. But Lippes loosely interpreted the barrio street movement in his own restrained way, showing white double-face satin overalls layered over a slim python bandeau, as well as a boxy T-shirt dress that was cut from the same exotic
skin. A standout pair of wide-leg denim trousers was fabricated by embroidering together nubby strips of indigo that were influenced by turn-of-the-twentieth-century African shawls. They were styled with a crisp take on the classic men’s guayabera shirt featuring a beautiful drape in back.

Elsewhere, Lippes got more adventurous with his reference point. Nodding to racy bucket seats covered in animal skins, he whipped up a structured car coat and ladylike midi skirt in a digital leopard pattern. Meanwhile, a giant lion tattoo print was splashed on a sleek shift dress, and the beast’s mane was echoed by appliquéing laser-cut pieces of leather onto an organza miniskirt. These statement makers added interest to the lineup’s beautiful basics, including delicate cashmere knits, tailored track pants, and on-trend culottes.


Calla Spring 2014 RTW

“This was my first collection about nostalgia,” Calla Haynes said of her Spring offering, an ode to early-nineties surf culture. “I was a young teenager at the time, and it was when I first discovered fashion.”

A silhouette inspired by Body Glove’s classic one-piece maillot was the style that unified today’s Calla presentation at the always crowded Milk Studios. There was a neon-green swimsuit with an exposed zipper up the front, yes, but that quintessentially nineties brand was also referenced in a kicky skater dress made of an extremely thin fabric called Alcantara, which was ink-jet-printed with a lavender design and then crinkled to give it a worn-in feel.

A full, couture-inspired skirt—made modern with a high-low hem—was printed with a speckled neon coral (that totally nineties color that falls right in between hot orange and hot red on the spectrum). Prints, as always, played a major role in Haynes’ work, but it would be interesting to see her take on solid pieces in a more serious way. She says she wants her collection to represent a real wardrobe; that’s possible, if she mixes it up just a bit.


Tocca Fall 2013 RTW

“It’s based on an ‘If I murdered my husband, this is the suit I’d wear to court’ kind of thing,” said Tocca designer Emma Fletcher at the brand’s presentation. It took no great leap to imagine the reformed Roxie Hart shimmying into Tocca’s black silk dress with inset diamonds of burnout velvet. Or perhaps she’d prefer the “Who, me?” ensemble of a lingerie pink silk cami spliced with French lace, shown tucked into a blush pink, calf-length A-line skirt with matching blazer.

On the more modern side was a lambskin leather dress with a fishnetlike panel over the chest that came from the Carlo Mollino photographs Fletcher’s been looking at, and some silky spaghetti-strapped slips of dresses. But best of all were the cover-ups. Coats, including a double-breasted herringbone number with leather-trimmed chevron pockets and a more formal black princess-seamed option, looked substantial enough to weather the current and any future storms. The overall effect was consistently Tocca: more vintage than pioneering, but just the sort of reserved yet seductive clothes that many women love to wear.