Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ellin's Fashion Diary

At Vera Wang's Spring/Summer 2012: Marina Rust, Beyonce Knowles, Solange Knowles, Lauren Santo Domingo, and Kim Kardashian.
by Ellin Saltzman

Oh what a beautiful morning! Staggered out of bed despite just 3 hours of sleep excited by the weather
and the list of designers to see today.

At Lincoln Center for a 9 AM show, and chatting with my pals at WWD and Stan Herman, ex head of the CFDA (and former designer Mr. Mort. How many of you remember Mr. Mort?) about how fun it would be to swim and play tennis today (they live in Southampton ... we could race out there and be home for Oscar de la Renta tonight!)
TORY BURCH. Tory has never done a runway show before. She selected a great venue in Alice Tully Hall. I was afraid that she was going to tackle doing a stage presentation, which is incredibly difficult to stage and expensive to mount and certainly not right for Tory's clothes. 
Setting for the Tory Burch show.
The setting was the great marble entrance hall at Alice Tully Hall. There were five rows of benches on both sides of the hall which made it perfect viewing. There are floor to ceiling windows on one side as well so on a perfect day it was like being at a bug-less outdoor fashion breakfast (minus the badly needed black coffee).

Tory has many very attractive friends who have been at her fashion events in the past which were more like cocktail presentations and parties. At this show the crowd, while large, was definitely all business. The pretty young Tory "twins" probably all had taken their children to school and act like Mommies. Michael Gould (the chairman of Bloomingdale's) was there, and he almost never attends fashion shows. The boys from Saks were there minus one player and they were smiling!
Tory Burch Spring 2012.
Tory has in her short fashion career built a very sizable business and I love watching it grow. Once again I could not see the shoes but hope they are another rousing success.

The collection was very all American and red, white and blue. Fun wavy stripes and large relaxed dots or squares combined in two piece dressing. She had some short shorts, pants, and some money in the bank tunics and knits. 
Tory closes out her first runway show.
Tory also had some super tweed jackets a la Coco. She is one of the very few designers to register the fact that she is designing for Spring. She even had a tweed trench. Other designers seemed to be emphasizing resort or summer, and perish the thought of wanting something new to wear on April days. Obviously I will harp on this in my wrap up.
For evening, Tory had some simple and delicious dresses which I am sure Zelda would have loved and Woody Allen could have used in the movie.
All in all a very fresh and pretty collection. Well done Tory.

BADGLEY MISCHKA. I must preface my comments by saying I am a big fan of both Mark and James. We have known each other and worked together in the past. When first we met, they were designing elegant sophisticated day dressing, and glamorous but still simple evening clothes. They have great taste.

Somehow during the design of this collection they encountered a "peplum problem" and it became contagious and spread to the Marc and James collection (their secondary line). A few peplums go a long way. Sometimes they camouflage the woman's hips, stomach, and derriere, but most times they accentuate these areas.  Peplums in dark colors can be worked, but in pepto-bismol pink they don't.

Perhaps it was because the Mark and James collection was shown along with the Badgley Mischka that it all looked inexpensive.

I know if I were to see the collection up close and personal I would change my mind. I am sure the buyers will as well!

They did one amazing outfit, a bright turquoise jersey swimsuit with an emerald leather jacket worn over it. The suit was Badgley Mischka and the jacket was Mark and James. It was hot!
Marc and James Spring 2012.
VERA WANG. What designer can get Madeline Albright and Beyonce both in her front row? And I do not think either is pregnant. Ms. Albright was here for the 9/11 anniversary and to catch the mood at the shows and in the stores. As for Beyonce, she was there to keep the show sparkling bright. She is truly beautiful. 
Vera's inspiration was "Alice in Wonderland" mixing tailoring with transparency. Or maybe nothing is as it appears. It is a very soft collection and magical in its whiteness with touches of color.
Vera too almost got in trouble with peplums. But hers are detachable, fortunately. She could not get in too much trouble because her collection was so cheerful and ethereal and for the most part pretty. Vera also managed to get the right color of purple. It is called INDIGO and it works as an elegant bright. It could be this Spring's black or navy. It really works!
From Vera's Spring 2012 collection.
OSCAR DE LA RENTA. At last! Some glamour and romance. Oscar does not disappoint. He showed in his new headquarters at 11 West 42; and if a collection looks good in a non-air conditioned floor with absolutely no glamour, then you know it must be good

He opened the collection with some long taffeta skirts attached to "caracos." The skirts were marigold, emerald, and tomato red. The caraco (which means short jacket ... I read in the dictionary) looked like glorious blouses separate from the skirts.  I am not sure whether they are two pieces or one but these long skirts are super and would look great with a perfect white shirt or even a perfect white tee shirt!

He then showed some white Battenberg lace dresses and outfits (Battenberg being a village in Prussia, Germany, from which the name Mountbatten was anglicized during the First World War). It is also known as Renaissance lace.

My mother and father would be so proud as whenever I asked what a word meant they said, "look it up." Indeed I did it for myself and for you. 

The problem with these whites is that they were shown with white socks worn with plastic and leather oxford heels. Not a beloved look and one I fear his customers are not going to adapt.

Oscar is one of the only designers who offers his customers some real Spring clothes with silk tweed suits and jackets. All had a touch of metallic threads.

But he truly shone for evening; lots of chiffon, feathers, colors, tulle, and even some light-weight furs.

Some of his styles looked a bit like Ophelia as the hair by Orlando Pita was kinky (as though tightly braided and then unbraided and made full).

I always think of what his truly chic wife Annette thinks about certain aspects of the designer's showmanship.

But thank you Oscar for the glamour tonight.
Glamour and romance, courtesy of Oscar de la Renta.
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