New York Fashion Week Spring ’10. Arise: It’s Africa… 70s Style

September 11, 2009 • New York Fashion Week Spring '10

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Summary: Besides Africa, the unifying element of the Arise Promise of Africa Collective was an aesthetic that was decidedly 70s. Halter dresses, paisleys and fringe meandered through the four collections with varying degrees of success. The most artful–and wearable–was the one whose creator consciously employed disco's influence: Tiffany Amber. Her pieces drew inspiration from Diana Ross's 1974 Motown hit, Mahogany, and it showed in the billowing sleeves that fluttered like butterflies, metallic gold that made you want to hit the dance floor, mutli-colored abstract prints jazzing up wide leg pants and kaftans.

Other designers were hit and miss. Jewel by Lisa was heavy-handed with the use of paisleys and prints, and embellishments were awkward and over the top. Still, she had at least two wildly winning looks: a multi-colored circle print beaded gown and a leather mini dress.

Eric Raisina for Haute Textures went overboard with fringe but had better luck with scales: his black silk layered scales dress was a unique and beautiful take on eveningwear.

Finally, while it's always a treat to watch Tyson Beckford walk the runway, I found David Tlales looks unflattering. Perhaps mixing and matching would produce better results.

Color Palette: Jewel by Lisa: red, mustard, pink blue; Tiffany Amber: metallics, purple, gold, pink, aquamarine, orange; Eric Raisina: red, yellow, black, aubergine, orange, pink, chartreuse; David Tlale: cream, taupe, grey, gold, olive, black

Fabrics & Textures: Jewel by Lisa: beads, crystal, batik; Tiffany Amber: chiffon, silk, beads, woven details; Eric Raisina: fringe, ribbon crochet, silk, scales; David Tlale: fringe, beads, organza, silk

Key Looks: Jewel by Lisa: Batik silk dress with crystal embellished strap detail, Leather cut-out mini dress; Tiffany Amber: Multi-colored abstract print wide leg pants with royal blue top, multi-colored abstract print kaftan with beaded woven belt, Aquamarine Chantilly lace overlay shift dress; Eric Raisina: Black silk layered scales evening dress with leather strap, Dark aubergine and silver tie-died silk chiffon trimmed long halter neck dress with pleated front; David Tlale: Black dress with shoulder pleating

– Becky Ellis

Photos: Mercedes Benz Fashion Week

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