Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spring 2012 Fashion Week: New York

The spring shows at New York Fashion Week seemed a little lackluster this year.  There were some solid collections, but  my usual go-to designers (Marc, Rodarte, Proenza, Wang) did not knock my socks off.  Fortunately, Victoria Beckham, Thakoon, Jason Wu and Oscar de la Renta pulled through and produced beautiful, memorable spring collections.


Victoria Beckham's collections are always very polished, but are usually too one-note for my taste.  She always comes back to the slinky-yet-demure dress, with a strong Rouland Mouret vibe.  This season, Beckham really came into her own, with a very on-trend, athletic-wear inspired collection. The trademark sexy dresses were still there--she has a strong celeb clientele that will surely scoop those up. But she also introduced separates--perfectly tailored, boxy silk jackets, over ultra-mini skirts, and leather leggings. The color palette of black, navy, orange with splashes of cream and lavender felt so fresh and sophisticated. Probably my favorite color story of Spring 2012.


Thakoon Panichgul blazes his own trail each season.  His collections usually leave me scratching my head, not because they don't make sense, but because he manages to fuse disparate elements in a way that shouldn't work, but somehow does.  Last season it was the Masai and Rococo, and this season it is the wild West and India. Each model's runway look was truly a vision--bold metallic paisley separates paired with gold-toed cowboy slingbacks, and topped of with a cloud of cotton candy hair. There was beauty in the details as well, from the sari-inspired gold trim to the Western-inspired embroidery. As out-there as the runway presentation was, the separates could easily mix into your average fashionista's wardrobe--hello, statement blouse!


Jason Wu's career skyrocketed to stardom after designing Michele Obama's inauguration gown, but his signature has since been safe, preppy separates and cocktail dresses. His spring collection's separates continued in the same preppy vein, but were punched up with beaded collars, a digital petal print, and exuberant feathers. It was Wu's final gowns, however, that stole the show. His bold chartreuse ball gown was unexpected and jaw-droppingly gorgeous--one of the most memorable dresses of the New York spring shows, in my opinion.


You can always count on Oscar de la Renta to bring the old-school couture showmanship at his shows. He opened with a huge golden ball gown topped with a lace tee--a modern and dramatic interpretation of evening wear. I envision SJP rocking this at the Oscars. De la Renta ended with more voluminous dresses, closing with a delicious frothy cream Contessa gown. In between, he presented the usual feminine day dresses and suits, rendered in lace and bouclé. There were a number of strong looks, but no real continuity--his silhouettes and color palette jumped all over the place. But the shoes--oh, the shoes!--were so fabulous that all else was forgiven. Those pink spectator sandals will haunt my dreams come spring!

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