NEW YORK (AP) — Quilting,
lace, fur, leather. Designers
are feeling texture for next fall.
Oscar de la Renta’s patchwork
coat in full floral, embroidered,
striped, Jacquard glory told the story well Wednesday as New York Fashion Week headed into a final, furious stretch of runway shows.
Even for de la Renta’s well-heeled woman, “It’s all about little thrills,” said Ken Downing,
fashion director at Neiman
Marcus. “Designers are inventing all these ideas of interesting fabrics.”
It’s not your usual mixed media as we saw last autumn. Now, Downing said, “It’s hitting
a fever pitch.”
The heart of the J. Mendel house remains with fur, but the runway of Gilles Mendel
was also dripping in luxe beading and appliques. No time for basics in the shoe collection
he debuted. Too busy with black broadtail to the ankle, black suede to the knee and mocha-colored silk satin up the thigh.
A black, one-shoulder sheer by Michael Kors had ONLY the print as cover up top. His belted animal print coat in caramel is ready to be stroked.
Technique pleases Downing.
It creates allure in the details. A sequined sheer scarf is a whisper in smoky gray as it teeters atop an updo on Donna Karan’s runway.
Previews run through Thursday night before moving on to London, Paris and Milan,
Italy.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA
It was all there: glamour, luxury, color.
De la Renta isn’t trendy, even if many of the trends that have made the rounds of the runways — texture, metallics,
long layers and man-tailoring, among them — were offered here.
These clothes are for women
looking for the special investment
pieces that can be worn a lifetime.
He’s particularly known for embellishment, embroidery and show-stopping eveningwear.
Come fall, coats surely will be on that short list. Many were fur-cashgora combos and cashmere crocheted cardigans with fur hoods gave new life to a standby silhouette.
Daytime dresses were slim, some with a simple belt at the waist or a ruffle around the neck. He did not shy away from color: There were bright blues, greens and reds.
Options for black-tie include a sparkly midnight blue V-neck, long-sleeve gown with embroidered
bursts that looked like nighttime stars. The belle of the ball didn’t get a full length gown. She wore a gold floral-threadwork
embroidered organza dress that hit below the knee.
MARCHESA
The best revenge of a jilted lover is looking good, and the designers of Marchesa have given an exquisite makeover to Miss Havisham. Bring on the suitors!
The inspiration for fall was David Lean’s 1946 version of the Charles Dickens’ classic “Great Expectations.”
The results were ethereal, almost ghostly at times, especially
one with exaggerated
Victorian shapes, or the white-on-black beaded gown worn with a black lace jacket.
Most looks were rooted in light-as-a-feather tulle, but so much of it was used, it took on the personality of something very strong. Add heavy embellishment
and long pooling silhouettes,
and you’ve got yourself
some glamour.
A light-gray strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline and chunky beaded bodice seemed destined for the Academy
Awards red carpet. Surely Marchesa could make the silver
portrait-collar dress with super-delicate lace floor length if the right starlet asked.
How soon could the gowns be on a plane to Los Angeles? “We’d send them tonight!” Georgina Chapman said.
MICHAEL KORS
The presentation of Kors’ 30th anniversary collection was a hit parade, revisiting his favorite fun, glamorous themes with an audience eager
to cheer him on.
There were references to disco and dancers, the boardroom,
the beach and the ski slopes.
Kors filled the front row at New York Fashion Week with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael
Douglas, Anjelica Huston,
Debra Messing, Emma Roberts and Bette Midler.
His muse is interested in easy luxury. She can pull off a wrap coat in soft gray cashgora with a silky white charmeuse shirt and man-tailored
trousers one day, and a beaded black jumpsuit with a sheer caftan over it the next.
For fall, his customer is getting jersey dresses with halter tops held up by silver necklaces, pajama-style evening
pants, a big black puffer coat, a tan-colored, one-shouldered
beaded gown, and fur — in smoke gray, rose pink or chocolate brown.
J. MENDEL
Oh those peep-toe boots.
Gilles Mendel debuted his new shoe collection. All the boots teetered on thin, sexy heels.
There were luxe looks, especially
gowns, to go with them. Hollywood stylists in the front row were whispering throughout
the show, “And who’s going to wear that one?”
The dresses aimed to be a little slouchy and very sensual,
appearing as if they were just pinned here and there. Made mostly of tulle, silk or mousseline — a favorite of Mendel’s — the designer said in his notes he was aiming for “throw-on-and-go appeal.”
Except that the looks were dripping in luxury with satin, beading and appliques.
Fur remains front and center.
The modern interpretations
included a snow mink mounted jacket, a pink quilted
broadtail — with fur epaulettes!
— and a mink-and-wool wrap coat.
ANNA SUI
Sui always strives for rocker-girlfriend, with a preference
for the 1960s. For the fall, she brought together the graphic mod mood of London in that heyday and the ornate costumes of the Ballet Russes from 40 years before that.
The culture clash worked on the runway. Sui sent out nine rapid-fire black-and-white outfits, including a fuzzy chenille herringbone and houndstooth dress, and a Deco-sequin embroidered tunic
over an optic-print dress.
The schoolgirl looks, such as a navy mosaic jumper, were wearable for the young as well as the young at heart, but the green maxi dress with a basket
print and white collar was a little too costumey.
“You design for so many different
levels — the customer, the salability, the trends and I always throw one in for myself,”
said Sui.
NANETTE LEPORE
The Ohio native put out prints with names like astral, cloud and star in a collection inspired by the sky.
She paired clothes with zebra-
print bags and boots, and shearling coats.
Lepore had had shimmery
white fabrics in swaying
dresses that were ruffled, tiered and embellished with rhinestones.
The astral print was a mix of large stars and flowers. Lace created sheer backs on jackets.
Lepore’s finale was a long sheer dress in black with a deep V-neck and silver beading.
“I think it’s what women really want to wear,” actress Patricia Clarkson said. “Not a fantastical idea of what a woman wants to wear.”
ELIE TAHARI
“It’s about love,” Tahari said backstage. “It’s about luxe, luxurious, luscious.”
He went on to add leather, lace and leopard to the list.
Tahari’s romantic line was grouped by color, changing
from black to white, then fading to beige and darker browns and ending with burgundy.
Chiffon flowed over lace or lace fell over chiffon to create sheer effects. Sleeves were wide and floating. Fox fur functioned as vests, scarves and stoles. Animal prints appeared
on skirts, jackets and pants.
Tahari said he sees the woman he dresses as “sexy and smart.”
“It’s about dressing up,” he said. “It’s about looking beautiful
while feeling good and being happy.”
SOPHIE THEALLET
Sophie Theallet’s fall collection
sizzled with sexiness even with the high necklines, long lengths and layering. It’s because she knows how to cut clothes so they hit the wearer in all the right places, said stylist June Ambrose from her front-row seat at the MAC & Milk studio.