ELEMENTS OF STYLE AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
When the curtains came down on the Fall 2011 collections, apart from some exhausted fashionestas, we were left with some lasting memories of innovative concepts of what the world’s top designers want women and men to wear in the upcoming season. 103 talented designers were listed in the official program, while a plethora of passion came from another 50,or so designers, who opted to show outside the relativ
ely virgin space at Lincoln Center. The challenge of this twice-yearly fashion mayhem is to always spot the hot trends and futuristic views coming from the collective fashion mind, known to us as Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.
Very rare does a designer get a full standing ovation at the end of their collection. At ZANG TOI, as if on cue everyone popped up cheering and yelling as soon as Zang came out to take his bow with `Real Housewives of New York’ reality star Jill Barron who modeled his finale gown. It was a breathtaking collection titled; `Timeless Beauty.’ This designer captivated the audience, who seemed mesmerized from start to finish. His opening look drew loud applause – A Loro Piana baby cashmere floor length trench cape, with a fur collar flowing over a camel cashmere silk/wool hand-loomed ribbed turtleneck and bootleg trousers. That set the tone for the rest of the misc-en-scene, as outfit after outfit raised the fashion focus, indulging the fashion flock in a symphony of beautiful garments that embodied sheer elegance.
Zang offered in his program notes that `Timeless Beauty’ came by way of a skillful blend of luxurious fabrics in classic shades of camel and charcoal, black and nude with hints of brilliant emerald. It is designed for the stylish and sophisticated palate. This treasure trove of finely crafted tailoring encapsulates the heritage of Zang Toi and is meant to be savored and adored for generations.’
After more than a 10-year absence from the runway, BYRON LARS came back as strong as ever with a stellar collection that saluted `Native Americana.’ His assemblage of classic American sportswear staples was dusted with Native American flavor. He chooses a picturesque venue in The Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, high above the Lincoln Center venue. With all the models poised in a forest setting, guests sipped champagne as they walked through the vignette. This was truly an elegant and sophisticated way to display his collection. “I wanted it to be more about the clothes and less about the hype,” said Byron. His new redirection of his label marks the beginning of `Byron Lars Beauty Mark.’ Initially a cotton Lycra shirting based offering, Beauty Mark took its cue from the shirts and shirt-dresses of his previous collections that put the designer on the map.
A hot front row always turns heads during fashion week. At menswear designer ERIC KIM for his fashion house – MIK CIRE, Deborah Cox, Jay Alexander, Sessilee Lopez, Patrick McDonald, Alva Chinn and June Ambrose were some of the notables who made up the front row. On the runway, equally noted models made up the amazing cabine’ which included: David Agbodi, Corey, and Tobias who brought to life one of the best menswear collections of the season. The fabrication was right on point; wool flannel, cashmere and goat suede, were the fabrics of choice. The boys boldly came forward modeling cashmere flannel double breasted coats over cashmere suits, a wool goose down puff blazer with goat suede accents came with a hooded cardigan, black cotton shirt, silk scarf and wool trousers with calfskin boots on model David Agbodi. Berthold modeled an
Ox blood lambskin flex moto jacket with embroidery and hexagon studs, with a wool engineered trouser. My personal favorite was Corey’s tinted `Campbell’ tartan plaid single-breasted suit paired with a black cotton shirt.
With most of the designers using no ethnic models, while some used one of two for effect, designer CAROLINA HERRERA, who was born in Venezuela, gets a big `high-five’ for sending out a record crop of seven models of color to make her Fall 2011 collection a spectacular presentation. Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls, Ajak Deng, Anais Mali, Aminata Niara and Jourdan Dunn, showcased a slice of the best Black girls `walking.’ It’s so ironic that in 2011 we are still excited when we see Black models doing their thing. It’s still a struggle, some baby steps are made but as a whole we still are not fully represented. Anyhow…. about Carolina’s collection…She knows how to make fashion elegant and sophisticated. Tasteful clothes for day and evening were her message for fall. Lush neutral colors were sparked by jeweled tones on her sleek silhouette; coats and jackets had big fur sleeves. A simple Black double-faced wool dress was tweaked by a luxurious Barguzine sable collar. Carolina’s exquisite scarves and gloves added a touch of class to most of the outfits. One fashionesta gushed backstage: “It’s a collection suited for a lady’s lifestyle of easy opulence.”
Appropriately described as a “desk to dinner” collection, CALLULA LILLIBELLE is quickly becoming a fashion force to recognize. Designers WILLIAM CALVERT and MELANIE FRASER HUNT have managed to craft a contemporary bridge line that is affordable, stylish and totally chic. The line debut last year to rave reviews, now in a state of keen refinement, Callula Lillibelle aims to simplify the dressing process while balancing the modern lifestyles of real women. This line is tailored for women from size zero to size 14 and the mix and match philosophy really do address women’s various body shapes.
In a stunning presentation where models were perched on pedestals and old school music permeated the air, CALLULA LILLIBELLE showcased an outstanding collection awash with glorious color, lavish prints, pinstripes and enough razzle dazzle to compete with the shine and glitter of New York City nights. Trousers were narrow or wide legged. Cropped jackets, beautiful blouses, tulip skirts and tweed boy shorts were some of the options women will have for fall. In essence, there was something for everybody. Chatting with the designer William Calvert, he said: “We wanted to take our fashion line based on several body types to show how versatile the line is. I do the sketches, Melanie is a real woman and understands the needs of our customer, and so she brings that sensitivity to the creative process in that department. All our fashions are made in the USA.”
SON JUNG WAN
In her debut New York collection, Korean designer SON JUNG WAN launched a memorable set of truly beautiful clothes for fall. Her un-constructed jackets and unfinished hemlines brought a fresh new element to show. Jeweled frocks came with muskrat sleeves. A vest with shoulder detail, teamed with Ivory crocheted flare pant sparked energy and her accordion pleated dresses and hemlines were a salute to modernity. Son has a love affair with furs, geometric embroidery, floral mosaic patterns and sequined dresses, flecked with fox accents.
The big news at TRACY REESE was her delicate high-waist dresses, and the dreamy accordion pleated long skirts that seem to float effortlessly down her runway. These accordion pleats are definitely a big trend for fall; they showed up on several runways during Fashion Week. With the beautiful actress Gabrielle Union perched front and center and a cabine’ of the most gorgeous models, Tracy is clearly the most focused and creative designers of our time. She always offers up a plethora of extremely well made clothes that bear the ultra feminine label.
Tracy’s fall parade was rooted in deep hues; sculptured shapes and engaging textured combinations. Tracy noted; “Marrying the unlikely romance of neutrals with ambers and rich curries, I infused muted tones of toffee, black, brown and grey with shots of brilliant metallic and jewel tones.” Her program notes further explained: `Reese updated romantic silhouettes through tactile pairings, elongated lengths and enhanced 3-dimensionality. All this is expertly balanced by Tracy’s famous graphic and floral prints which remain strong for the season creating visions of amber sunsets and autumn botanical gardens, allowing glimpses of summer to shine through fall.’
KOREAN CONCEPTS – CULTURAL TREASURES 2011
In a pop-up store located in New York’s Soho district, four of Korea’s top designers displayed the most exquisitely tailored clothes of the season. LIE SANG BONG led the creative force of this collective. He is nicknamed the Korean McQueen, his clothes has been worn by Beyoncé’ and Lady GaGa to name a few. His dresses possess a wonderful sensibility and are like beautiful paintings. Based in Paris, Lie said he’s inspired by the Zen imagery. “I also look at Korean traditional paintings, the landscape, mountains and horizons.” He has a staff of 65 in Korea and has 8 standing boutiques, located in Paris’s top department stores.
DOHO presented amazing gold embroidered sweaters, shiny leather jackets and chain embellishments in her clothes that truly transcend trends. Chief designer: KIM WOO JONG said her line is created for the career woman and is in spired by Victorian old master paintings, Gothic elements and romantic nuances. Doho is sold in 32 retail outlets in Korea; her goal is to introduce her brand to New York. STEVE J & YONI P was trained at the famed London fashion school of Central St Martin’s. They create unique prints and execute their own graphics. Drop crotch pants, bold color blocking clashed on long dresses and multi-dimensional jackets with a modern twist were key features in their collection.
The final collection was from GENERAL IDEA. The creative director CHOI BUM SUK married the military concepts of last season with active mountain life, to showcase a menswear collection of rugged proportions. He feasted on durable fabrications and a variety of bold colors. This global fashion brand has collaborated with Absolut Vodka, Puma and Audi Luxury Vehicles.
In a bare gutted space that houses his garment district showroom, designer STEPHEN BURROWS launched his Fall 2011 collection. Always a hot ticket during the season, the raw open space not only provided a perfect backdrop for his deliciously lovely clothes, but allowed a wide cross section of guests to sit in a huge venue to observe the intricacies of this genius designer. Spotted among guests were: Andre Leon Talley, Tyson Beckford, Harold Coda, Donna Williams and Stephen’s former muse Pat Cleveland. A red bubble coat opened the show followed by a cavalcade of dainty stripes on the bias, fluted hemlines and daring color blocks. Flowing cashmere shawls and ponchos added a flirty touch to this dainty, feminine collection. What was his inspiration? “Egg shapes, stripes, plaids and prints combined. Soft dressing and stretch fabrics,” said the designer.
By Walter Greene | Photos by Froylan Flowers | Published in Profiles98 Summer Issue 7 2011