An Focal · Fashion

New York Fashion Week

New York fashion week is the Holy Grail of the fashion world. It kicks off the global calender of fashion weeks and is immediately followed by London, Milan and Paris. The buzz words for this season are quilting, lace, fur and leather.

Oscar de la Renta is known for embellishment, embroidery and show stopping evening wear. He did not let us down, it was all there, glamour, luxury and colour. His style is for women looking for investment peieces that will last forever. Coats were on the short list in this show; his patchwork coat in its full floral glory stole the show on Wednesday as fashion week headed into a final furious stretch of runway shows. He did not shy away from colour using bright blues, greens and reds.

The presentation of Michael Kors’ 30th anniversary collection was a hit parade, revisiting his favourite fun, glamorous themes with an audience eager to cheer him on. The front row was filled with celebrity fans like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Debra Messing, Emma Roberts and Bette Midler. This season his patrons are getting jersey dresses with halter tops held up by silver necklaces, pyjama-style evening pants and fur in smoke grey, rose pink or chocolate brown. His hit belted animal print coat in caramel is ready to be stroked enforcing the texture theme running throughout fashion week.

Gilles Mendel debut his new shoe collection. All the boots teetered on thin, sexy heels. Oh those peep toe boots! The dresses were very slouchy and sensual. Made mostly of tulle, silk or muslin the designer said he was aiming for a “throw on and go appeal”. The heart of the J. Mendel house remains with fur, but the runway was also dripping in luxe beading and appliqués.

Sophie Theallet’s collection sizzled with sexiness even with the high necklines, long lengths and layering. It was the bias cut silhouettes and the multiple uses of satin that gave the clothes a lingerie feel, but not in a constricted corseted kind of way. There was a Bonnie and Clyde theme to the raw edge pantsuits and scarf-neck shirtdresses, emphasised by the berets worn by the models

Sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy hit on more straightforward styles that can easily be translated to the street. Several gowns had a windblown wheat print at the hem, with different moments of the sunset creeping up the body of the dress. Seem crazy? It’ll all make sense when one of the many Mulleavys’ celebrity fans turn up wearing one of these cool designs to an event.  The Mulleavys’ loaded up layers of different texture, mixing horsehair with sequins, leather and chiffon. The colours were serene especially the grainy shades of oatmeal and wheat.

This seasons New York show left no doubt that touch is a sense to be revisited again and again. The materials and textures are begging to be touched. The designs are simple and elegant with a little bit of craziness thrown in. The message to me is recession, what recession? The looks are easy to recreate with faux fur, pleather and some imagination.

(text published in ‘An Focal’ 8 March 2011)


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