Dark was light and airy at Vera Wang’s runway show as the designer celebrated the midnight hour. The collection was an exploration of black as more than just a color, but rather its inherent texture, volume, composition and sensibility. Wang illustrated a dark romance, roughing up her scalloped organza and wool crepe gown with a slight, disheveled touch. Jet black tulle and feathers felt playful, while long gloves and bold, detailed shoulders were sophisticated and powerful. While glamorous to the end, Wang did tone down the opulence, opting for black twill jackets and baggy trousers. Clean lines, blazers and wool pants never once felt over-masculine, but rather echoed Wang’s signature super feminine style. Rows of pearls messily tossed on grounded the looks, illustrating Wang’s delicate film noir.
Max and Lubov Azria focused on minimalism last season, and they have done it again–this time delivering a subtle, quiet collection characteristic of gentle beauty. The thirty-six looks were darkly sophisticated, and aubergine and beige hues injected movement into the much more simplistic, toned down designs. A taupe wool boucle coat paired with a taupe silk dress was seemingly simple in its structure, but very bold, all at once. Azria described that the goal was to highlight a woman’s strength and sensuality, while taking pains to create garments that are utterly unfussy. Azria noted, “It is a minimalist collection and it’s less formal. In that sense, it’s very architectural and it makes a woman extremely strong, sexy, and ready to go anywhere.”
“We wanted the girls to look like they were walking on the moon,” said Kate Mulleavy after the dramatic, black-lit finale of the brand’s Fall 2010 effort at Gagosian. In the process, they’ve send their captive audience over the moon with a masterful and euphoric display. Like Marc Jacobs this season, the CFDA winning sisters ignored the seasonal palette clichés and instead illustrated their ‘sleepwalking’ theme with sensuous whites, personality-driven florals, and intricate knits. The Fall Rodarte was all about imaginative draping, haunted pearl details, and airy fabrics. But more importantly, this collection served as almost a polar opposite to the duo’s last line and evoked a completely contrasting–but very enticing–set of emotions.
Once again Narciso Rodriguez honed in on the importance of detail and clean, soft lines, resulting in a collection that was effortlessly sexy. Black and charcoal gray spherical hats sliced and diced the separates, giving the designs a distinctly geometric feel. Cut-outs and shoulder detailing were delicate, while charcoals, steely grays and pewter hues were the perfect backdrop for shots of gold and emerald. Body-wrapping details and asymmetry provide injected the eveningwear with movement–and promised to flatter the figure. Rodriguez knows just how to reveal, without ever disclosing too much. His successful cocktail of crisp, clean silhouettes, luxurious silk fabrics and surprise detailing hit all the right notes.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
Marc by Marc Jacobs gave his military-themed collection a thrifty and youthful spin for Fall 2010. Combat khaki twill coats and belted army red jackets were made charming and child-like with mid-calf dress socks, patent leather oxfords, striped nubby knits, and over-the-shoulder bags appropriate for platoons and pep squads alike. If you’re looking for something a bit more feminine, hone in on the Bronte lace blouse with high-waisted wool trousers, the balsam gilded numbers, or any of the ultra-girly A-line little black dresses.
For her 25th anniversary show, Donna Karan emphasized the bare basics (black, that is) and told her quarter-century story through powerful, architecturally-inspired pieces created out of wool organza, tweed, and opulent shearlings. The lack of color was a surprising creative choice for such a significant show, but dramatic gowns with spiral-cut layers and sculpted jackets are certain to satisfy her core costumer’s cravings. It felt like a confident and assured master display, though seldom colorful numbers (like Sasha’s magenta showstopper) had us itching for more.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka truly outdid themselves this year by putting on two runway shows in one. First, 15 Badgley Mischka looks culminating in the traditional wedding gown followed by twice that number of looks from contemporary line Mark & James. The gown line delivered exactly what Badgley Mischka is known for—high wattage eveningwear. Several show-stopping pieces were covered top-to-bottom in sparkle with a subtle ombre effect. The contemporary line was not without its own brand of glamour. Fur, metallic fabrics, beading and glittery trim made it clear this was not intended to be your average grocery-shopping attire. But for designers all about outrageously over-the-top glamour, they exercised ample restraint to make the contemporary line wearable yet special enough to treasure.
Victoria Beckham greeted each guest attending the intimate showings of her new collection personally, discussing the fabric, concept, color, fit and construction of each piece. Inspired by Dick Tracy and the film noir femme fatale, Beckham’s pieces mixed structure with draping, achieving a series of elegant silhouettes for both day and evening. The models sported round sunglasses from the recently-relaunched Victoria Beckham eyewear collection. Red, black, and white platforms produced in collaboration with Brian Atwood were striking as well, mostly for their skyscraper height.