Ellin Saltzman's Fashion Diary

Front and center for Derek Lam.
Sunday, September 12

The good news: it did not rain on the thousands of runners in the Susan Komen Race for the Cure this morning. The bad news is that the US Tennis Final scheduled for 4 PM may have to be postponed!

DEREK LAM designs clean American sportswear. Born in San Francisco he studied at Parsons and fortunately for him he began work at MICHAEL KORS, truly our top American Sportswear designer and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement from The Council of Fashion Designers (the CFDA) this year. His training shows!
Derek opened his collection with great American denim (but not jeans) including flat front wide leg trousers (is it becoming a trend for Spring?)

Derek's length are mostly mid calf. However he does a smashing white trench coat at knee length and a white popover tunic and wrap skirt slightly above knee height. His collection ended on a high note with a smashing long sleeve beautifully cut white dress.
DKNY
Donna does not go the flat heel way. Her shoe is a high heel pump with an ankle strap (beware, if you do not have perfect legs and are not the perfect leggy lady, this ankle strap cuts your leg and makes it appear wider!)

Donna's collection is clean and fun. It is all lengths and moods. A borrowed-from-the-boys great shirt and vest under a blazer is followed by a short ruffled white dress which is followed by a taupe mid-calf shirt dress.

Donna introduces some great color and color combinations into her show starting with the perfect bright red dress. Bright coral blazer over red sweater vest combined with calf length pants. If no jacket, there is the Donna's ubiquitous sweater tied around the model's waist (I personally do this hoping it hides the rear...but nowadays I would have to wear a sweater around my shoulders hoping it hides the neck!) Donna solves the neck issue by wide scarves being tied in various ways around the models still perfect necks)
She combines aqua and turquoise blue in a top with blue pants and goes all out in an adorable sort turquoise print ruffled mini dress. Donna's DKNY show ends with a great group of Liberty style black background prints in everything from swimwear, skirts, dresses and evening dresses.

With this collection Donna could dress two to three generations of women (as in her household) the young grandmother (Donna), her beautiful daughter, and very soon her fabulous granddaughter. The collection is very good!
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Diane is working with a new designer. His name is Yvan Mispelaere. Their new styles are much softer and very colorful with clean and crisp sporty separates in great bright shades of black and white, yellow and turquoise, coral and red, lapis blue. Nary an ordinary jersey wrap dress in the collection (which will be in the showroom because they are bread and butter).

The most like a wrap dress was the opening bold print wrap jumpsuit. Her clothes were of all lengths; and the city short shorts with great boxy jackets were shown with FLAT sandals (that proportion looks better than heels with shorts!).

The models often wore John Lennon shaped sunglasses; one even with a white frame, with their strappy print sun dresses. Other outstanding looks were a yellow halter-neck silk top worn with a turquoise skirt and a great coral-hooded silk top with a brilliant purple long skirt.

Outstanding and elegant to me was the black/gray/white multi-square print silk chemise with elbow length sleeves, mid-calf length. (Now you know this had to be good as I am not an elbow-length sleeve person or a mid-calf length one either...but here it looks great!) This dress also had what I think from afar was a brilliant blue/black and white belt bag giving it the finished look.

This collection was almost totally unadorned or accessorized which made it all the better by not hiding the clothes!
Monday morning, September 13

No more rain! Warmer than past two days. Tents now bustling with recognizable press and merchants.

Many attended Tommy Hilfiger's show and celebration of 25 years last night. I am told the collection was very clean and preppy and "Tommy like" once again.
CAROLINA HERRERA

It's Carolina Herrera's morning. 10 AM promptly Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of Vogue in case you forgot) is sitting in her seat. She is always on time. Totally prompt and perfectly groomed. She nods hello as acquaintances pass her. She sits and waits 40 minutes for the show to start!

I must quote the words on the program "for Spring 2011 colors, prints, and floral appliques were taken from botanical plates collected in the 18th century. The cut and details of this collection were inspired by traditional clothes from Korea. The hat customarily worn by men and the wrapped belts complete the silhouette." Not knowing a great deal about Korean style nor Botany the show proceeded!
Backstage at Carolina Herrera.
Opening the show was a perfect jasmine white twill wrap jacket with matching double pleated pants, shown with a big black straw hat with the hair in a perfect chignon under it. It was clean and neat.

There were some beautiful silk floral print and solid organza embroidered dresses which came in two lengths: one above the knee and the other below the knee. The longer length in this case looked a bit frumpier.
Carolina in her botanical frame of mind used green. But it is olive green, not necessarily a spring color. She softened the look with lime floral jacquard long gown. She knows her ladies and produced a group of long gowns with much jeweled embroidery, at times a bit too much but very beautiful. And for those who have lots of their own jewels. an aster (shocking pink to me) satin gazar gown with Korean stitched bows (not sure how Korean bows differ from American bows but I am reading the program!)

Carolina took her bow dressed in her style of white shirt, rolled cuff, and blue tweed slim above the knee skirt!
MONIQUE LHUILIER

Monique designs totally feminine dresses for the red carpet on Oscar night, for brides and their pretty youngish mothers, and for evenings from cocktails to charity balls.

This season she was inspired by the Garden of Eden; with its red apple and snake; and angel like colors and soft cloud like fabrics. Her lengths vary: above the knee, two to three inches below the knee (I have a problem accepting that), midcalf, and full length. Three out of four work, the other just looks dowdy!
The show opened with blush gazar with a pleated petal bodice, midcalf length. This was the good in the garden; and then came the tempting red apple draped wool cocktail dress with lace insert on the side. She uses a cherry blossom print from her garden in taffeta as a strapless cocktail dress (above the knee) and an ivory re-embroidered lace corseted dress with cut out back for some sex appeal and a smashing red apple chiffon knotted keyhole bodice gown a show stopper and entrance maker.

Ms. Lhuilier ended her show with several grand evening gowns. She lives in Los Angeles and her stars are there. Both are fortunate.
DONNA KARAN is, through her yoga, retreats, and healthy living "embracing nature" (as her program notes). There is not one tough or hard note in this collection, it is all air, and very fresh air at that.

The show opened with a group of ivory and nudes; all soft, wrapped, layered silks; some under a crushed stretch jacket. The lengths are all long. but soft, between the lower calf to ankle, and all look beautiful.

This is not necessarily a "wear to work" collection as Donna's clothes once were (remember her padded shoulder jacket and body suits and wrap skirt? it was power dressing to the max). This is truly sexy office dressing; for those with great bodies and great weekend party dressing. No bright colors here, but she doesn't need it! The customer might, however, have to find a good cleaner for all these pale nude long outfits.
 
Photographs by Patrick McMullan.com, Maria Valentino / FirstView.com, George Chinsee
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