Elie Saab Spring Fashion Colllection

It was back to the seventies at Elie Saab, as on so many other runways this season. The designer name-checked Bianca, Lauren, and Diane, and he attempted to conjure the wild nights of Studio 54 with a lineup that was long on jersey, chiffon, sequins, and the decade’s requisite platform sandals. If it felt like a tepid reimagining of that heady era, especially in light of the disco-y decadence of Louis Vuitton a few hours later, that may be partly explained by the fact that Saab does such a big business with the Hollywood crowd. No actress wants to land on the worst-dressed list, which means today’s red-carpet dressing only pushes the boundaries so far.

Saab’s formula for Spring was best summed up by the closing dress, a blush-peach asymmetrical gown embroidered in tiny squares of sequins: a little bit of shine and a little bit of shoulder, with a glossy mane and lids lined in yellow shadow to match. Michel Gaubert’s soundtrack of Rolling Stones, Blondie, and Diana Ross tunes worked hard to add some sizzle to the proceedings, but the green chartreuse, apricot, slate blue, and smoky white palette didn’t want to comply. A close-fitting column gown ruched on the torso and a cocktail dress with the same draped detail down its back provided a couple of pulse-quickening moments. But you left wanting more of them.


Yves Saint Laurent Spring Collection

It was inevitable that the epic Designer Clothes Saint Laurent exhibition, which recently closed after a six-month run in Paris, would make its presence felt in fashion this season. It certainly put the man who holds the reins at the house that Yves built in a reflective mood. In a blazingly focused, tightly edited show, Stefano Pilati revisited the Yves Saint Laurent codes one by one: beginning with a trenchcoat and building naturally to Le Smoking, in crepe de soir. In between came bowed blouses, blasts of color, cabans, paysanne  ruffles, clouds of marabou, long forties lines, exotica, erotica, and more. It was a comprehensive guided tour of the YSL universe. And the location—a Rothschild hôtel particulier in the eighth—was a simpatico venue, its gilded, frescoed salons instantly creating a more appropriate, intimate mood than the cavernous glory of the Grand Palais, where Pilati had been showing for a while.

Speaking of simpatico, the clothes Pilati offered to an audience that ran the gamut from Janet Jackson to Florence Welch (minus her Machine for a fashion night out) underscored his instinctive connection to the fundamental ethos of the house. You could pose it as a face-off: restraint versus release. The specter of Belle de Jour hovers over such a notion, but here it was as simple as black and white, if you considered the pristine glare of that opening trench versus the inky blackness of the last jumpsuit. But Pilati also proposed a blouse that was proper bordering on prim, bar the fact that it was completely sheer, and a jumpsuit that turned out to be backless. The subtle baring of skin was something of a leitmotif, with the slit skirt or the exposed midriff. It fitted with the tribalism Pilati was talking about afterward: how fashion is a way for women to identify themselves, just as members of a tribe do. He made the connection explicit with a print that was literally thumbprints, or a texture that looked a little like scarified skin. The sophisticated, the primitive again, restraint and release. It added up to a collection that should resonate loud and long for Pilati.

Haider Ackermann Spring Fashion Collection

Tilda Swinton rocked a red silk jacket and long slim skirt from Haider Ackermann’s last show at the Cannes Film Festival, and the paparazzi took notice. Backstage, the designer admitted that all the subsequent attention piled the pressure on, but it also put him in a cheerful mood. “It made me want colors, brightness,” he said, and that impulse led to a serenely beautiful Spring collection he called A Passage to India.

It wasn’t until about halfway through, after a pair of black looks opened the show and a passage of smoky gray followed, that the color came in. Gorgeous saffron yellow and midnight blue were worth the wait. As for the silhouettes, there was a whiff of colonial India in the hammered silk cargo pants and rolled shorts, as well as in the washed leather epauletted jackets and vests. These were worn long and cutaway around the hips, or knotted around the waist. Whereas Balmain’s fatigues were sexy, Ackermann’s take on the season’s developing military trend was soigné. But if his daywear was more approachable, the designer’s draped evening dresses were just as uncompromising as they’ve always been. Take, for instance, the last look: The asymmetric gown covered only one breast, forcing the model who wore it to walk the runway covering the other with her hand. And you’d have to have the body of a goddess, not to mention the confidence of one, to pull off a draped jersey floor-skimmer in dusty lilac, or one of the long, clinging skirts with an inverted-U cutout to the middle thigh. Somehow, though, we suspect that Swinton won’t be the only celebrity to wear them.

Alexander Wang Fall Fashion Collection

Earlier this week, an accessories editor at a major magazine told me she was forced to ask the staff’s stylists to stop using Alexander Wang’s lace-up sandal boot from Spring 2009 in their shoots. Consider that: a contemporary designer snagging a seasonal honor Most Favored Editorial Shoe usually taken by the likes of Balenciaga or Louis Vuitton.

Defined purely by price point, his is a contemporary brand. But it’s a label Wang politely chafes at, and over the past three seasons he’s become sui generis: a designer with the creative chops to increasingly earn a place in high fashion’s conversation, but whose clothes are accessible to more than just the one percent.

Situated at this powerful vantage point, Wang chose Wall Street’s Masters of the Universe as his starting point for Fall. He took the traditional banker’s suit a push into uncharted territory for this Master of the T-shirt and deconstructed it in a dark and sexy vein. It was “about growing up, about progress,” Wang said before the show. “It’s a lot more sophisticated, more polished.” Polished yes, but hardly proper. Wang knows his girl, and she’s not following the office dress code.

Cropped blazers, tailcoats, and vests exposed slivers of skin and were worn with thick ribbed thigh-high legwarmers, often yanked down over chunky heels. Matching backpack straps were crisscrossed in front to give a bondage vibe. Layering was part of the story, but Wang’s goal was to do it in a more precise, less street-chic manner, slicing away extraneous elements. A key part of that was his new trouser, a sort of glorified belled legging that his leggy front-row fans will no doubt jump all over.

Perhaps as a counterpoint to his gray flannel inspiration, Wang also made the case for velvet in all forms, including chenille. That seems a tough sell, even for him. Then again, there’s a good likelihood that the growing number of worldwide Wang ettes some of whom surely caught the show live-streamed on SHOWstudio or on the massive American Eagle LED billboard in Times Squarewill love every little bit.

Burberry Prorsum Fashion Collection

There’s only one problem with the jackets on the Burberry Prorsum runway for Fall: Which one to choose? It’s the biggest accolade to Christopher Bailey that (a) that was a real and urgent dilemma, as the outerwear was available to pre-order instantaneously on the Burberry Web site, and (b) it would actually be impossible to go wrong. Every single one of his giant-collared shearlings, military drab overcoats and parkas and every hybrid thereof, in all their variations of volume, shape, shagginess, and leather strap and buckle detail was utterly desirable. Bailey nailed it from the point of view of proportion oversize and cropped and practicality. He did it for women who like a frisson of showy seasonal fashion, and for those who want a coat that’s destined for a long life in the hall closet. By 5 p.m. GMT, thousands of mouse-pointers all over the world were hovering in distress over which “Click to buy” button to press.

Backstage, among the seething crowd of paparazzi, film crews, and well-wishers, Bailey gave his word on where all this originated. “I was thinking of uniforms and cadet girls but it all started when I looked at an aviator jacket in the archive. Then, as I started designing into it, I realized it could be as versatile as the trench strong and sexy, masculine and feminine.” And just before he was submerged in the next wave of kissing and congratulations, he turned and grinned: “And I really enjoyed it!”

Creatively, it certainly looked like he did. Burberry is on home ground here: not trying too hard, keeping at one authentically cool thing and exploding into a look that is simple to get, yet exists in a myriad of options, all of which take care to emphasize sex appeal. It’s a simple equation: jacket; skimpy, drapey, lacy skirt; and a pair of amazing boots either right up to the thigh or (again, the agony of choice!) shearling-lined and bristling with straps.

Was it more important, though, that there was a sensation with this show that the parameters of fashion its presentation, communication, and selling were finally being forced open as the world watched? It was globally live-streamed, viewed in 3-D by clusters of invited guests in New York, Tokyo, L.A., and Dubai: That much only seems semi novel in a culture that’s already assimilated the availability of show material in record time. What’s new, and super-clever in this case, is the simultaneous pre-selling of the clothes on the runway and for three days only. As a brilliant piece of fashion-business management, it was an Olympic style streak ahead that will leave other competitors seething.

Iceberg Spring collection

For Spring 2011, Iceberg designer clothes Paolo Gerani took the classic children’s tale The Little Prince as his inspiration, mining that book’s proto-environmentalism for a collection that touched on themes of decay and renewal. Gerani created a backdrop from an undulating wall of cardboard, like a giant abandoned filing system, that suggested the kind of repurposing you might see in the slums of Lagos or Rio. (The association was strengthened by the techno world music accompaniment of the Chemical Brothers’ “Galvanize” on the soundtrack.

The designer showed knitwear that looked old, burned, and holey; T-shirts decorated with duct tape; a shearling that could have been rescued from a bin; and distressed footwear. He also worked the recycling theme in sweatshirt material reconfigured as a tailored jacket/bomber hybrid and as a blazer with a baseball jacket’s sleeves. Pinstriped silk pants with an elasticated ankle felt like they’d been pajamas in a former life. Two pristine blousons in green leather, meanwhile, evoked growth and rebirth.

Designer clothes: Sex and the City 2

Another Hits and fashionable for the stars of Sex and the City 2. The ladies stepped out for the red carpet primere of their movies in New York last night.

It’s been four years since audiences last heard from the ladies of Sex and the City, but they’ll get their chance to catch up when the female Fab Four hits the big screen in this week’s Sex and the City: The Movie. Attending the highly anticipated premiere were stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon,

Hollywood fashionista came wore there designer clothes collection. See and joined Carrie, Samatha, Charlotte and Miranda on the red carpet.

Sarah Jessica Parker aka  Carrie Bradshaw

Sarah Jessica Parker says she was so nervous about her neon colored Valentino gown, she hardly slept!

Kim Cattrall aka Samantha Jones

Everyone’s favorite cougar Kim Cattrall shined on the blue carpet in her gold Naeem Khan gown and jewels by Kimberly McDonald.

Kristin Davis aka Charlotte York Goldenblatt

Kristin Davis dressed just like Charlotte would have on a red carpet with a vintage Jean Desses pink strapless gown. She certainly looked pretty in pink!

Cynthia Nixon aks Miranda Hobbes

Cynthia Nixon confessed that she took the safe route with her black Carolina Herrera dress. “I think if fans expect me to be this dressed up in my everyday life, they’re going to be very disappointed. I own a lot of flats,” she joked.

2010 Ready to Wear by Ralph Lauren

Over the course of his four-decade career, Ralph Lauren has made many looks his own—equestrian, country club, ski-lodge chic. Bohemian gypsy is a little more unexpected, but there were definite strains of that in today’s show, and not only because Stevie Nicks was singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Sisters of the Moon” on the soundtrack. Lauren got there via the Edwardian tailoring and romantic florals that his fans already know and love—not to mention a trove of beaded necklaces, beanies, and fingerless lace gloves.

Puffed shoulders made repeat appearances, here on a fitted charcoal herringbone jacket, there on a cotton flannel plaid blouse or jewel-tone velvet top; a black suede tunic with leg-of-mutton sleeves was sashed at the waist over flaring leggings. Mixing masculine and feminine with his usual deftness, Lauren slipped a chesterfield on top of a floor-grazing georgette dress, and cinched distressed leather belts around the washed Shetland wool jackets he paired with ruffled skirts.

There was a pinstripe interlude that looked tailor-made for his tony clientele, but not unlike his Spring collection, with its Great Depression-inspired beaten-up blue jeans, this one seemed pitched to a more downtown crowd. That was especially the case when it came to evening. A passementerie embroidered silk ottoman coat was plenty posh, ditto a black silk georgette and tulle beaded gown. His flower-print long dresses, however, were layered over lacy long-sleeve tees in a way we’ve seen young designers doing all week. If this felt like strange new territory for Lauren, there were moments—as with that silk georgette fils coupe gown—when it was fertile ground indeed.

CK 2010

Today’s Calvin Klein Collection show began with a musical composition and light show by Alva Noto (a.k.a. Carsten Nicolai) specially conceived for the occasion. The room went dark and spotlights that looked vaguely like stacked vertebrae pulsated to the rhythm of the soundtrack. It was a fittingly conceptual beginning for Francisco Costa’s Fall lineup, which was pared down in the extreme.

The designer opened with a streamlined collarless coat in lustrous black cupro. Its molded, rounded shoulders and full sleeves turned up later in a double faced wool suit jacket worn with a wrap skirt, as well as in an ivory crepe and leather long sleeve T-shirt teamed with matching high-waisted, cropped pants. If the stiff, sculptural shapes of these pieces weren’t the most flattering, Costa’s two other areas of interest this season regimented tailoring and shift dresses paid more careful attention to the lines and curves of the female body.

A midnight blue trench in stretch technical wool had a commanding presence. (The fact that Stella Tennant wore it probably helped; along with Kirsty Hume and Kristen McMenamy, the nineties supe was there to represent the golden era of minimalism.) A hammered cashmere cape, two curving arches cut away from its hem, was equally dramatic. As for Costa’s sleeveless shifts, what made them compelling was their glossy, liquid-mercury fabrics or, alternately, their calla-lily-inspired draped shapes. Evening was represented by a trio of silver silk Lurex columns with subtle gridlike embroideries. They aren’t exactly red carpet friendly (sorry, front-row attendees Kerry Washington, Kate Bosworth, Isabel Lucas, and Naomi Watts). But in their spare simplicity like the best pieces in this collection they’re undeniably cool.

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Fashion for Marc Jacobs

Whoever does Marc Jacobs‘ research for him is a genius, with an ability to nail a mood that is pure gold. The new Marc by Marc Jacobs collection perfectly captured the moment when stylish boys and girls were picking up Iron Curtain army surplus after the Wall came down. The khaki melton coat with the red trim? The black fur hat? The big wool coat, patched and roughly belted as a dress? It was all spookily close to the source, which was kind of in keeping with the theme of Jacobs’ signature show on Monday night: There’s no place like home. In that case, “home” was a serene, almost dreamlike reminder of timelessness and enduring value. Here, it was a distillation of the thrift-shop spirit that has shaped the Marc by Marc collection from day one. Not just the surplus, but a strapless tartan prom dress (with petticoat) for the girls and washed-out black felt cargo pants with matching jacket for the boys.

It could seem a little listless, except that everything about Marc Jacobs is a package, so the soundtrack was a relentlessly upbeat modern surf sound (the Drums were featured). That shoved the energy levels skyward and underscored Marc by Marc’s fundamental charm and prettiness, both assets clearly highlighted by the fresh-faced, bed-headed, and largely unfamiliar cast of models.

The pie-crust frilling on blouses and pants might have been a little obvious, but a blanket-striped sweater dress over leggings was girlishly cute. And the military references were artfully tweaked: Freja Beja Erichsen in a little drummer boy jacket, Cole Mohr in a big black trench worn over long johns—all reasons to like this collection more and more each season.

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