New Designer Fashion

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Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left. View full post on Runway Feed

There was no Rita Ora emerging out of a burning car or Theophilus London
atop a Jet Ski, but at a recent showroom presentation of Philipp Plein‘s
Resort ’15 offering, what was lacking in pageantry was counterbalanced by
the designer’s more-is-more credo in full force. Pop Art irreverence got
a big nod here: Pair upon pair of Lichtenstein-esque crimson lips studded
pieces from jeans to jackets to gowns. “Drunk in Love” and “J’Adore
Plein!” they cried through speech bubbles. Those pouts were mostly
crafted in crystal; it seems likely that Swarovski also “adores Plein,”
who could perhaps single-handedly keep the Austrian brand in the black
with his love of all things encrusted. Here that included velour neon
tracksuits embellished with his signature skull. Elsewhere the designer
served up pieces with a bubblegum punk flair, like generous zipper
accents alongside a flouncy mini, acid-hued leather bolos, and fitted
moto jackets with ample cutouts on the sleeves. This delivery is poised
to hit stores not long after Plein’s first New York boutique bows on
Madison Avenue in September; only time will tell if these pieces resonate
as lucratively with Manhattanites as they do Muscovites and Miamians.
—Kristin Anderson View full post on Runway Feed

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One of the highlights of this week’s Couture schedule is sure to be the opening of the Musée Galliera’s new show, Les Années 50, La Mode en France 1947-1957, curated by the fashion savant Olivier Saillard. In a timely coincidence, Donatella Versace revisited the decade for her Atelier Versace collection tonight. That starting point marks a departure for the designer, who has lately found muses in the likes of Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, and inspiration from more contemporary reference points, like nineties grunge.

Donatella’s fifties, of course, were different from the Galliera’s fifties. Her round-shouldered, boned-waist jacket featured a strategic cutout at the shoulder with a gold buckle to suspend it in place. A slit-front bustier dress, meanwhile, was a dress in name only; one of the legs of the model who wore it was covered with a pant. These were among the strongest looks in the collection, confidently executed and rigorously structured. In some ways, they were the polar opposite of the navel-baring, slit-up-to-there tropical-print dress of Donatella’s that Jennifer Lopez wore to the Grammys back in 2000, simultaneously cementing both divas’ places in red-carpet history. Lopez was in the front row tonight, poured into a strapless corseted gown with gold buckles at the hip. But if Versace’s techniques are more sophisticated now, it was and always will be about flaunting the assets at this house.

Also percolating was the notion of taking something as simple and everyday as the T-shirt and rendering it haute by covering it in crystals and beads and draping it into an hourglass evening dress. Side by side, these dresses didn’t have the precision of the opening numbers—though perhaps because of that fact, they will be fun and sexy to wear. A few fringed pieces made from crinoline, with fine strips of patent leather embroidered on top, somewhat muddled the message.

For the finale, it was back to the fifties, but as before, with a generous tweak. A powdery pink silk-duchesse satin ball gown came slit up the middle, fully revealing the black Swarovski crystal bodysuit it was strapped and buckled to. “I am Versace,” the designer said beforehand, explaining the piece’s brazen cut and construction. “I have to show it to the world.”
—Nicole Phelps View full post on Runway Feed

Marco Zanini didn’t hold back with his second Haute Couture collection for Schiaparelli. At the time, his January debut seemed plenty shocking; looking back, it was just a warm-up. “Last season I felt really the fright,” he said. “I was so afraid about touching the legacy, because camp is a trap that is always around the corner with Schiaparelli. But I realized if I wanted to find the look, I cannot avoid going there, so why don’t I go there full-on?”

Indeed, a floor-sweeping coral pink mohair coat with giant ES initials in royal blue on the chest and attention-grabbing, pronounced shoulders (a bold silhouette it shared with other outerwear in the collection) will read as too literal for some tastes, too steeped in the couturier’s 1930s milieu. Schiaparelli, as it exists today, is not the house for those clients. There are others, though, who will thrill to the developments at this Diego Della Valle-owned label. Once upon a time those women might have shopped at Christian Lacroix. Eccentricity has gone mostly missing from couture since Lacroix shuttered his business. A shame. Shouldn’t couture, most of all, be a stage for flamboyance and provocation? Zanini is convinced of it.

Thus you had today’s animal prints: nesting pigeons whose eyes were embroidered in sequins on high-waisted trousers, poodles on a simple pleated skirt, and vibrant purple “Central Park” squirrels and rats on a 1930s gown—street creatures all, made fabulous despite their mundanity. And thus you had surreal moments like the bleeding heart picked out in Lesage embroidery on a black dress. Surrealism was off-limits for Zanini last season, so essential was it to Schiap’s oeuvre. Call it a missed opportunity that he’s now open to embrace. Shocking pink, also off the table in January, looked fairly glorious here on a silk velvet dress with three-dimensional flowers at the shoulder. Elsewhere, Elsa’s beloved monkey fur was reproduced with a modern touch in glycerine-treated ostrich feathers on a chic bolero. Also great: another bolero in Christmas tree tinsel fringe. Nearly every look was accompanied by a Stephen Jones chapeau, from a Simone de Beauvoir hand-knit turban to a Lesage-embroidered children’s party hat.

“Schiaparelli is so vivid as an image in your mind,” Zanini said. “As a designer you really need to confront the dragon and go there.” He shouldn’t be afraid to push further next season.
—Nicole Phelps View full post on Runway Feed

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Jay Ahr designer Jonathan Riss yearned for more fluidity this season, marking a departure of sorts from his recent exploration of form. While he didn’t abandon the now-signature Jay Ahr flounced “kick” skirt—never forsake a retail favorite—you could see how he had collapsed his silhouettes, drawing out a wearable ease that jibed nicely with a pre-collection offering. The label has closed the chapter on the zipper detailing that defined several previous seasons; in its place, a perforation technique of micro “lozenges” punched into sturdy canvas. Sometimes the motif disappeared into stripes; other times it was embellished by flat metal studs. Most often, it came backed in black tulle, which did double duty as structural and tonal reinforcement. That recalled Italian modern artist Lucio Fontana’s trick of adding depth to his slashed canvases, and Riss acknowledged that the granddaddy of spatialism is an ongoing inspiration.

Azzedine Alaïa appeared as a more literal reference, particularly in the leather latticework pants or the dotted pattern in relief across slouchy tops. At one point, Riss referred to the designer as a “master” while distancing himself from his work by touting Jay Ahr’s effortless sensibility. His glazed knits paired with cascading, higher-waisted skirts confirmed as much, and he also managed to make his asymmetric hemlines look uncontrived. Overall, the new fluidity led to more finesse, and the collection’s focus—from the repetition of just a few fabrics to the monochromatic palette accented by a Fontana-esque rose and cobalt blue—suggests that Riss increasingly realizes the impact of restraint.
—Amy Verner View full post on Runway Feed

Following Ostwald Helgason‘s much-noted runway debut in February, design duo Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason offered up an energetic Resort collection, both in terms of color and a penchant for sporty fabrics—here, as elsewhere, mesh was a major statement for the season.

The German-born Ostwald has a background in fine art, something that comes through in deft color-blocking and bright tropical critters like an orange-and-blue toucan on a gray sweatshirt. In a more subdued vein, the designers made a compelling case for abstract geometric landscapes, whether on shifts or as knits. They’re also busily exploring new fabric treatments and combinations. One example: a skirt made of heat-pressed, woven blue raffia that was worked into honeycombed and lacy patterns, bonded with technical fabric and layered over black linen cotton. Speaking of technical fabrics, sporty-smart outerwear was a welcome carryover from the label’s Fall collection. But overall, Ostwald and Helgason seem to have found a sweet spot with playful, mix-and-match daywear in simple shapes that let the pattern and fabrications do the talking. Yes, the clothes are so loaded with detail it’s hard to list them all here, but at least they’re not fussy: One could just as easily give one of these feminine skirts the uptown treatment as take it downtown with the russet-and-turquoise monkey sweatshirt and sneakers.
—Tina Isaac-Goizé View full post on Runway Feed

Some couturiers send out a wedding gown as their final runway look; Alexandre Vauthier presented a black body-skimming gown that offered quite the peep show from behind. A pearl-embellished band running diagonally across the right cheek functioned as a decorative bridge between the lower back and the upper bum, ostensibly holding the dress together. Such asset-flaunting bait will prove irresistible to Vauthier’s
mega-muses: Rihanna, Bey, Kim, Rita. But with this collection, the designer ensured that there was more than enough of his mastery to go around, from a jumpsuit in a laser-cut pony hair that mimicked lace, to crystal-studded leather pants, to a slinky minidress covered in ribbons of python stitched to tulle. Before the show, Vauthier seemed particularly excited about his foray into a print that appeared on a silk parka and high-waisted trousers; no run-of-the-mill geometric motif, this was a reinterpreted archive find from Clerici Tessuto, the century-old Italian fabric house.

It’s all too tempting to linger over a one-shouldered dress that sparkled like pomegranate seeds (the 196,000 ruby-red stones required 1,850 hours of Lesage embroidery) at the expense of Vauthier’s stellar tailoring—straight-edged but not boxy. Patent shin guards unnecessarily accented a few leggy looks, as if he hadn’t already offered enough aesthetic armor with a pearl and crystal cardigan (120 hours of embroidery) or a series of plush fox cabans. Of course, the designer knows there will always be an appetite for the Tom Ford school of sexpot, but his point of differentiation—his expert eye for fit—can get overwhelmed by glam. Vauthier described this collection as “excessively chic,” adding a rapid succession of “très” for emphasis. And to the extent that people will be apt to remember that right cheek most of all, this was très true.
—Amy Verner View full post on Runway Feed