Falling For Fashion All Over Again

February 27, 2011 • Magazine

Falling For Fashion All Over Again

Falling For Fashion All Over Again

Sun, 2000-02-27 05:00

Fashion’s Future is Bright!

Joseph Ungoco

As those of you who have followed me through a Fall Winter New York Fashion Week or two know, I always take time away from pouty models stalking the catwalks to watch some bitches in choke chains strut and get judged. Before any of my newer readers start thinking me a misogynist, I should mention that I’m talking about my annual foray to the Westminster Kennel Club. From “Best Show” to “Best in Show” and back, I run the full gamut of the best that America has to offer, be it fashion or purebred dogs. This season was no different for me but the mood in both venues – Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden – was strikingly similar in its hopefulness for the future.

As the general population slowly pulls out of the recession of recent years, fashion marches confidently forward into better times. Last fall, we saw a preview of what was to come (and is just now starting to arrive in stores) and “the future” looked bright. Fall 2011 – if the denizens of fashion land are to be believed – will bring luxury like we haven’t seen since the dawn of the “Greed is Good” 1980s. I was one of those fashion folk who thought it “only appropriate” to tone it down, both lifestyle and fashion-wise, in the post-September 11th period, but after 10 years, I and the designers who showed this season are ready to let loose.

How appropriate then that two very different – yet equally exuberant – designers celebrated 30 years in business this season. Michael Kors, the King of Modern American Sportswear, took us on a super chic rollercoaster ride. The slim sleek silhouettes and luxe fabrics brought me right back to the 1980s – my formative fashion years – but without the power shoulders. If ever they decide to remake Dynasty, the new Krystle and Alexis will surely be wearing Michael Kors. Custo Dalmau, the Spanish Maestro of Prints, marked the milestone with a signature Custo Barcelona collection that was at once both somber and vibrant. The slightly subdued color palette served to highlight the richly layered textures of the pure artistry for which the designer is well known worldwide.

Layering yourself in luxury will be the order of the day on both sides of the Atlantic come Fall 2011 and Nicholas K offered some of the best options for creating the multi-textured look on this side of The Pond. Today’s American consumer of fashion cannot help but respond to such easy-to-wear yet stylish clothing that doesn’t require a total wardrobe makeover. The highly detailed designs, executed in simple patterned fabrics, belie a design aesthetic that is at once minimal and complex. Here is an extremely talented designer that most women can work into their existing wardrobes without having to change the way they move through their everyday world.

Not too long ago, the muted greens and browns of the desert camo that the U.S. Army created for the war in Iraq found its way into fashion in the form of military-inspired jackets in those colors. For next fall, these same colors came to the runways not “armed for battle”, but rather “ready for retreat” – a country or mountain retreat, that is! Charlotte Ronson co-opted Fairisle knits (which crept into men’s fashion for Fall Winter 2010). Long the iconic symbol of Americans at rest or play in the countryside, these patterns signal a general relaxation in mindset of the American people. Ronson used the pattern throughout her collection but perhaps most charmingly in knit pants that evoke hot toddies fireside après-ski, but will still hold their own fashion wise on any city street.

As any fan of Mean Girls knows cliques don’t mix, but it sure is fun to see them cross paths. Fashion folk are famously insular and some of my funniest Fashion Week memories are when our tribe crosses paths with other tribes like musicians or foodies who – heaven forfend – actually eat the hors d’oeurves at events! This season, on a quick jaunt to Milk Studios, I witnessed the unlikely and highly amusing mingling of fashionistas and flannel buffalo plaid clad bears at the Costello Tagliapietra show. Once the lights went up, however, all eyes were on the runway and the delightful parade of designs. The design duo went “back to basics” with a primary yet rich color palette and deceptively simple silhouettes. standout was an expertly draped dress in “chalkboard green” that would have Madame Vionnet doing double takes.

No return to the 80s would be complete without little black dresses for the Robert Palmer girls of today. Come fall, daytime power brokers can let loose on the New York night in Kevork Kiledjian, who debuted his eponymous line. Fans of his overtly sexy collections for Guilty Brotherhood were not disappointed with the strong silhouettes, tailored leathers, and peekaboo bondage dresses he presented under his own name.

As red carpet season draws to a close and the Prom season and the junior charity gala circuit kick in, evening is on everyone’s minds. Do you ever wonder what hard working journos like myself are scribbling in their collection notes while carefully scrutinizing the looks on the runway? Well, there was only one show where my notes on long gowns ran the gamut from “Met Ball” to “Oscar presenter” to “Oscar nominee”. Left coaster Monique Llhulier took some of the best core silhouettes of the 80s and brought then forward to today -with a current twist to the overall look and even a sprinkling of golden stardust. We’ll be sure to see many of these looks on red carpets soon!

As the fashion tribe migrates to London, Milan, and Paris, stay tuned for more news of fashion’s bright future! Luxury lies ahead like the golden city on a hill if only we keep forging ahead. Recession dressing? That’s not even “last season” – like, it’s sooo like last decade…
Ciao for now!

1. Michael Kors Fall 2011 RTW
2. Custo Barcelona Fall 2011 RTW
3. Nicholas K Fall 2011 RTW
4. Charlotte Ronson Fall 2011 RTW
5. Costello Tagliapietra Fall 2011 RTW
6. Kevork Kiledjian Fall 2011 RTW
7. Monique Lluhlier Fall 2011 RTW

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