The mood in the tents during this past Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York was a little melancholy – for a number of reasons. First, after much back and forth with the city, this was finally declared the â€œlastâ€ time the shows would be held in Bryant Park. Next season, we’ll be navigating a completely new setup at the Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, which boasts 13,000 more square feet than the current location. Secondly, the first day of the shows will now and forever be the day that we learned that the fashion universe had lost one of its brightest stars: Alexander McQueen. You could see a wave wash over the assembled crowds at the morning shows as their Blackberries rang through with the news. Even the video interviewers switched tack mid-interview from asking about the designers who were showing right then to asking about the â€œtragedy of the seasonâ€. Within minutes of the news breaking in the US, KCD had sent out an email blast cancelling the presentation of his diffusion line that was planned for later in the week. By mid-afternoon, everyone was back to the business at hand, but the mood was still slightly more somber than you would expect on this first day of Fashion Week in New York.
A number of shows stood out in the uber-crowded lineup this season, for both the beauty of the spectacle and the clothes themselves. The Ports 1961 show began after designer Tia Ciabani called for a â€œmoment of silenceâ€ to honor McQueen and then, in true â€œthe show must go onâ€ fashion, dazzled us with massive scale Machine Age visuals and her homage to the strength of character- and style – of Amelia Earhart. From tailored coats to gently draped wraps, the collection offers menswear-influenced styles for Fall 2010 that will fit easily into any woman’s wardrobe. As global warming and international travel now have relaxed our needs for true â€œwinterâ€ clothing in the Fall/Winter collections, layering has become the key to fashionable survival.
Canadian Jeremy Laing paid homage to his home country by incorporating elements of snow bound design into light pieces that can easily be layered in less Northern climates. Tropical-weight tulle, chiffon and charmeuse were layered with fur elements for looks that will be at home at any latitude. For his first foray into fur, Laing turned to the pelts best known in Canada: beaver, raccoon, and even muskrat. Laing also applied feathering techniques to lighten the furs and incorporate them into his designs as one would any other â€œfabricâ€.
Australian designer, Toni Maticevski, is known for creating complicated confections that incorporate many different fabrics and techniques. His mille feuille evening gowns are as delicate as the lightest La Duree macaroon and as impressive as a 6-tier wedding cake. This season his runway show began solemnly as the models glided elegiacally, somehow slightly sorrowful in their beauty. Then to the strains of the theme from Gattaca, the models transformed into glorious visions of design from fashion’s not-so-distant future. The sunray pleating of blouses and overskirts seemed to beam warmth into the room.
Designer Elisa Palomino took us on a journey to a time in the early 20th century when the Western world was fascinated by all things â€œOrientalâ€, be they Japanese or Chinese. Against a backdrop of a giant painted Geisha fan, Palomino’s designs stood out for their perfect blending of Asian decorative arts and modern design sensibility. Rather than being retro, they add a dash of worldliness to utterly feminine design. The autumn leaves color palette in the early part of the collection left us all hopeful for Indian Summer.
I wanted to say a few words about the amazing accessories options that will be available to you next season, but I had difficulty finding photos. Fear not – I’ll keep looking and share those with you soon enough. In the meantime, I have a few suggestions regarding what best dressed women sometimes have â€œon their armâ€ -your man, your boyfriend, your husband, cougar-bait, whatever you call him, you can double your fashion impact by making sure the man in your life is as well dressed as you are. If he has an appreciation for fine men’s tailoring, but like a little ultramodern mixed in with his traditional, check out the designs of Hisham Oumlil. Oumlil’s fans were delighted to see this visionary designer apply his keen eye and undisputable design skills to new fabrics and fresh silhouettes. Sleek leathers mix with quilted fabrics to form the perfect cocktail of fashion and tailoring.
For the bad boy in your life, look to Eric Kim’s collection for Mik Cire. Hip, fashion forward men can easily incorporate items from this collection or don a whole look if their lifestyle or whims dictate so. Either way, your â€œarm candyâ€ will be more chic than the latest â€œitâ€ bag – and just as visually stunning as you are.
Image Layout: Tiffany Carlin