L is for…

October 12, 2008 • Magazine

L is for…

L is for…

Sun, 2008-10-12 09:00

Joseph Ungoco

The L word on Wall Street may be “Losses”, but the word on the streets of the world’s fashion capitals – New York, Paris, London, and Milan – is “Luxury”. Fashion may often be dismissed as frivolous but the truth behind the business of fashion is that collections are six months in the making and what we saw recently on European runways for Spring 2009 is a reflection of that period in time – and not of recent events. The effects of the collapse of global financial markets will not be seen on the fashion runways until next season. For now, let’s enjoy the escapism of fashion and take a look at some of my favorite L words from the past month in fashion.

L is for Luca Luca. Luca Orlandi was well known in fashion circles for his luxurious and pretty designs for New York’s Ladies who Lunch, like front row regular Ivana Trump. For his first collection for the luxury label, the new Creative Director, Raul Melgoza, sent out a clean, pared down collection of designs in a simple color palette of white, grey, and silver that clearly reflects his background in architecture. Gone are the trims, buttons, prints and petticoats of yesteryear at the newly repositioned label. Here now are ultraluxurious fabrics and structured silhouettes. The new Luca Luca woman is headstrong, confident, and not afraid to show some skin – be it leg or shoulder. I have no doubt that women everywhere will take well to the new modern American sportswear direction at Luca Luca. From my double front row (inside a U-shaped runway) seat, I truly felt like I was witnessing the dawning of a new era. The entire collection is reminiscent of Francisco Costa’s early collections for Calvin Klein, with a little of Nicolas Ghesquiere’s futuristic viewpoint for Balenciaga thrown in. The future looks bright for Luca Luca.

L is for Luella… and London. Luella Bartley’s collection during UK Fashion Week was the explosion of color that everyone in fashion was waiting for after the muted color palettes of New York Fashion Week. The skies over London may have been gray, but Bartley’s clothes were anything but. The riot of color included grape, tangerine, and bubble gum pink. True to her signature girly girl style, Bartley offered suits and dresses with all the ruffles, frills, bows, and poufs she could muster – proving once again that sometimes in fashion “too much is just right”. For Bartley, Luxury translates into layers and layers – of luxurious style.

L is… not for Milano, but, fear not, I will cover Gucci, Prada, Versace and all the other designers from Milan Fashion Week in upcoming articles. Stay tuned.

L is for Lanvin. Alber Elbaz’s collection was peppered through with the same basic colors of black, white, and nude that we saw on the New York runways and will undoubtedly see on dedicated Barney’s customers come springtime. However, instead of being staid or boring, these pieces were doctoral level treatises on luxury design. The simple colors were meant to highlight the precise placement of seams to create truly luxurious silhouettes, featuring at first geometric and then, later in the show, organic volume. Ever since Dior’s first New Look collection after World War II, volume has equaled luxury. Lean times mean lean silhouettes. An abundance of fabric is joyous and, ultimately, decadent. Elbaz truly understands the dual luxury needs of the Lanvin customer: restrained and exuberant. The deliciously rich colors featured throughout the show fed the latter. I cannot overstate how otherworldly these beautiful garments are. I can only hope to encounter them – like some exotic migrating bird – on Madison Avenue as winter melts away.

Finally, no discourse on Luxury – or L words, for that matter – could possibly exclude the legendary Louis Vuitton. Marc Jacobs delivered a quintessentially Parisian collection for Louis Vuitton. As much as his eponymous line reflects the global “idea” of a New Yorker, his Spring 2009 collection for Louis Vuitton reflects the world’s “idea” of a Parisian – specifically, a “jolie fille” straight out of a mid-century movie. However, instead of going retro and giving us sweet little skirt suits and sweaters over blouses, Jacobs gives us a young Parisian woman who is as excruciatingly chic as her mother but has her own very modern sense of style born out of global travel and exposure to far off cultures. The signature saffron yellow of Tibetan monks appears in a feathered blouse with Juliet sleeves and cinched with a metallic leather obi sash tied with a cord with feather finials. The loden green most often associated with country sports on English estates appears as a futuristically geometric sweater layered over a metallic silk blouse and a flippy flirty skirt. The entire collection is perfect for the warrior princess

I hope that you’ve enjoyed your short trip to the fashion capitals of the world with me. We know that you have a choice in fashion flights of fancy and we really appreciate your choosing us to fulfill your fashion coverage needs. Thank you for flying Male Box.

1. & 2. Luca Luca Spring ’09 RTW
3. & 4. Luella Bartley ’09 RTW
5. & 6. Lanvin ’09 RTW
7. & 8. Louis Vuitton ’09 RTW

Photos: Style.com

Image Layout: Jessica Piraro

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