Saturday, February 27, 2010

NY FALL 2010: Mackage

Riding Fashion

By Angela Gilltrap for

Eran Elfassy and Elisa Dahan, the duo behind Mackage opened Mercedes Benz fashion week with a small but enthusiastic crowd rugged up to brave Manhattan’s bitter cold. Following the trend of equestrian chic — that we are destined to see more of this season — Mackage produced a cohesive collection of wearable, winter must-haves. From figure hugging, high-necked winter coats in muted tones, to black leather shorts with sequined detail, this Canadian design team served up riding wear for the city savvy. The three-tiered cap sleeve made a recurring appearance throughout the collection giving standard outerwear a stylish touch. Patched elbows and Prince of Wales check providing a classic feel. For the men, asymmetrical leather jackets came up trumps with the bow tie making a stylish statement. Mackage’s signature shaped leather was ever prominent. Interesting tailored lines and sleek silhouettes all part of this collection’s charm.

NY FALL 2010: VPL by Victoria Bartlett

VPL by Victoria Bartlett
Benjamin Le Hay for

With nearly 60 looks, Victoria Bartlett had plenty to say with her fall/winter 2010 collection. While the show was titled “Shadows,” no one theme seemed evident, as the clothes wandered somewhere between nomadic Sahara and apocalyptic beach. In the beginning, Bartlett hid bras, leggings and undies under coats, vests, shift dresses and multi-color bandage bodysuits. The palette dabbled in tawny, seal brown, putty, nude, gold, camel, sea, dull violet and gray. She used a mélange of leather, jersey, wool, mohair, cotton and silk materials that were fluidly blended, layered and draped together. There were fun accessories such as rope and leather chain-link belts and bracelets. A provocative coal silhouette shift dress over a purple fractional bra with fake tan, twisted gloves and taupe bandage boots worked well.

There was plenty of subdued sheen and sparkle with a silver, free fall cardigan, matched with a silver patch, bandage bra, tar fragment pants and purple bandage boots. Jaclyn Mayer’s Orly Genger jewelry complimented the VPL garments beautifully.

Other successful looks included a military torsion tunic with a green warmer and military boots, paired with a gold tiered jacket. Towards the end — which was a parade of bodysuits and bandage—highpoints included a long leg, braided bodysuit in a hodgepodge of camel and sand colors; and an alchemy hair corset and bodysuit, both weaved in plums and pewter. Although there was a lot to take in, these contemporarily ethnic pieces would mix and match well together, or hold their own as separates.

NY FALL 2010: Vivienne Tam

Vivienne Tam: Year of the Tiger

By Benjamin Le Hay for

It was refreshing to see Tam expand her styles for Fall 2010. Downplayed were the peony prints and glossy silks with cut out appliqué. Without abandoning her Chinese influences, this season’s theme, “Chinese Zodiac,” took inspiration from the various animals of the Chinese calendar.

There was more urban glam and metallic in the clothes this time round and it worked better. Looks like a bold, red silk failed, “dragon scale” origami cheongsam tunic, a champagne floral appliqué cashmere silk tee and animal printed tulle floral appliqué coat — were more decadent options. However a black wool, tulle vest with floral accents, a sleek black strapless organza origami dress and several military coats provided tamer alternatives.

Aside from the standard copious amounts of Veuve Clicquot, the label’s signature Vivienne Tam for HP laptop computers and desk monitors — featuring her floral designs — were also on hand at the presentation. It will be interesting to see how clients take to these upgraded designs, but it’s more than likely they’ll find plenty to desire.

NY FALL 2010 Day 1: Toni Maticevski

TONI MATICEVSKI: A new take on beauty
By Joseph Ungoco for

Toni Maticevski amped up the fashion drama with a deconstructed, photo shoot set and elegant orchestral soundtrack for his runway show at the Altman Building. With the fashion press still reeling from the news of Alexander McQueen’s death, the assembled crowd was reminded that as in life, the show goes on.

The show opened with gossamer sunray pleated silk tulle gowns that seemed to float, suspended in a one-of-a-kind fashion moment. To the soaring strains of the theme from Gattaca, we were treated to visual proof of new life in the world of fashion. Just as that movie celebrated the shrugging off of society's limitations, so Toni M. throws convention to the proverbial wind and presents a unique aesthetic. From the softly draped blouses to the deconstructed full skirts in tulle, the entire collection was overflowing with exuberance for a new sensibility regarding beauty.


NY FALL 2010: Y3

Y-3: Fighting Fashion
Benjamin Le Hay for

Y-3 is always the show that the fashion crowd looks forward to for a much-needed dose of fun and frivolity. With the Park Avenue Armory packed to the brim with such notables as Ciara, Justin Theroux and Terry Richardson; the Y-3 team kicked off the presentation of their Autumn/Winter 2010-11 collection with haze and fog on the runway cut with a fantastic laser show by British art collective UVA.

Y-3 is about sportive technology infused with traditional construction complimented by Yohji Yamamoto’s futuristic genius; so the lasers were a perfect fit. For this season however, Y-3’s sportive elegance turned more too custom English tailoring — classic shapes updated with modern materials, or vice versa. Yamamoto injected a considerable amount of his routine humor into the collection by using underlying themes such as masked superheroes like Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel to jailbirds on the run.

At first, models paraded down the runway to revamped tunes of Simon & Garfunkel in a variety of gray and black plaid ensembles including rouched jackets with zipper accents, cowl neck warm up suits and sporty blazers; worn with awesome silver and neon patent leather wedge heels on the women and pump sneakers on the men.

The collection then segmented into traditional military garb, deconstructed in a contemporary light as Yamamoto explains, "Recently the trend has been for tighter and shorter and sexier clothes. I wanted to wrap the body again, and not show too much."

Classic A-1 flight jackets with fur collars, long dramatic capes, cashmere utility warm-ups and car coats were showcased in navy and black. This slowly progressed into jersey dresses with tier bottoms, cloaks, shawls and oversized jumpsuits — all accessorized with luxurious excessive scarves in more navy, cranberry merlot and black.

Note: a men’s nave/olive sleeveless cape with toggle, should be purchased as soon as humanly possible!

Humor resurfaced again with wool sweaters, hoodies and cardigans embellished with kitten patches and phrase like, "I'm thinking prison break" and "World is not fair."

NY FALL 2010: Christian Siriano

Christian Siriano: Comes up trumps
By Joseph Ungoco for

Despite the usual circus-like check in for which the runway shows of all Project Runway alumni are known, the atmosphere once inside the tent was fairly reserved. The high intensity bubblegum pop soundtrack kept the mood lively.

A hush of anticipation fell over the crowd as the lights dimmed signaling the opening of the show. The first look was signature Siriano, a leath asymmetrically zipped biker jacket with an oversized peplum. Significantly less costume-y than previous seasons, the looks that followed seemed quite wearable.

Flounce ruffles and volume still play a major role in Siriano's collection. Surprisingly, his take on the leg of mutton and bishop sleeves we've seen in other collections for the past two seasons was lean, fresh, and downright edgy. Perhaps it was his excellent choice and blending of textiles and textures.

The color palette moved seamlessly from gray through black to a toned down royal blue. Fuchsia was the one foray into really strong color and voluminous draping, but two seasons after Lanvin, these blooms felt less than fresh. Overall however, Siriano cemented his place in fashion as more than a personality, a talented designer in his own right.

NY FALL 2010: Lacoste

Lacoste: Laser precision
By Joseph Ungoco for

Lacoste, the French lifestyle brand long known for its triple wide runways and armies of models, narrowed the visual focus and opted for a raised single runway in lemon yellow. The LCD crocodile at the head of the runway cycled through the rainbow of colors presented in the collection.

Creative director, Christophe Lemaire, started with a '30s moment in shades of light heather grey. Oversized car coats with loose boxy shoulders brought us back to the start of the car age. What followed were multicolored confetti knits and chic sophisticated color blocking in green red yellow and black. The asymmetrical cloche worn opposite a low side ponytail gave us flapper, with just a hint Amelia Earhart.

NY FALL 2010: Hisham Oulmlil

By Joseph Ungoco for

Following the well known maxim to "zig" when they expect you to "zag", Hisham Oumlil took his collection in a whole new direction. For Fall/Winter 2010, Oumlil transported his customer on a journey through the varied "Shades of Man". Loyal fans and longtime supporters alike were delighted to see new fabrics and textures applied to his unmistakable signature tailoring.

Oumlil applied quilting in a totally modern way. His horizontal channel quilting lent volume and visual interest to already well fitted silhouettes. My fellow editors and myself, were mad for his diamond quilted taffeta, both as an accent on a lapel of a brocade jacket and as a full look in an evening jacket.

Fashion Group's Rising Star for 2008 he has risen to new heights and in doing so, will undoubtedly bring his label into a broader level of consumer awareness. To the sounds of the James Bond theme, Oumlil showed us the man many of us want to be and some of us love to hate. Either way, he gave us an amazing collection of pieces that can elevate any man's wardrobe.

NY FALL 2010: Risto

Risto: Cocooned
Benjamin Le Hay for Runway Resource

Following stints as a design assistant at Jean Colonna and Thierry Mugler, Risto Bimbiloski, originally from Macedonia, has plenty of flavorful skill and style for creating head-turning fashion. His factory, which looks after the production requirements of all his collections shines when it comes to handcrafted knits and industrial cut-and-sew garments.

For this season, Risto drew inspiration from the landscapes of Nicola Sassoon fused with distorted digital imagery. Voluminous and excessive silhouettes in Risto’s signature chunky, sumptuous knits abounded. Visual depictions of blurry jungle forests, waterfalls and waves cresting at midnight seemed to dance on a variety of abstractly cut dresses, jackets, cardigans and hoodies.

The show kicked off with several knit capes in silver, robin egg and fog — each bordered in silver or gold threading and beads. Outer garments and cashmere sweaters appeared to cling to the body like spider webs. They encased colorful dresses and tops in rainbow, watercolor-pastels.

The overall mood and styling of the show symbolized a butterfly or moth muted by its dreary cocoon. This gave a sense of off-kilter balance and displayed the mismatch and versatility of each piece. A slit-back dress in a Fair Isle/Python silver print turned heads, as did a parka with wool and cashmere lining in black midnight, with the hazy image of waves. The collection’s leggings also were noteworthy with the collision of double materials such cashmere, Lyrca, patent leather and wool, merged at the inseam, certainly a designer who juxtaposes fabrics, styles and shapes for a provocative effect.

NY FALL 2010: Ports 1961

PORTS: Flying high
By Joseph Ungoco for

As we filed into the Ports 1961 show, we were met with massive graphics of pistons and machinery arching over the U-shaped runway. The show began with a moment of silence for fashion's lost son then fog began to pour out of the doors to backstage. Some of us were feeling the Machine Age vibe and wondering if this staple of the “Ladies who Lunch” set might have gone Rosie the Riveter Workwear on us.

What ensued however, was sheer delight. Designer Tia Ciabani gave us an Amelia Earhardt moment. From the supple gloves to her modern take on the aviator hat, she took us through what a modern woman wears to conquer the air in an open biplane — as well as the city streets!

The muted color palette was rich in deep hues and sprinkled through with prints in luxurious fabrics. The heavy guage slubbed knits were paired with leathers in an utterly fresh take on the Ports aesthetic.

NY FALL 2010: Duckie Brown

Duckie Brown: Delightfully Yours
By Joseph Ungoco for

Right when the fashion elite were starting to get into the groove of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the regulars were literally stunned into silence over the news of Alexander McQueen's death. But before sadness could really settle in, the duo behind Duckie Brown sent out a stream of delightfully “mad-for-plaid” outfits that brought back happy memories of McQueen's own Royal Stewart tartan confections.

The maxi-cuffed, knicker-length trousers were just cheeky enough to bring us all back to the business at hand. Solid pops of color like fire engine red and acid yellow were the perfect compliment to the somber tones of black watch plaid. The "bruised" tweed had the textile obsessed drooling. The exotic texture and ultra-masculine color palette of this unique fabric appeared in several, very wearable combinations. Hats, gloves and shoes aren’t just for ladies who lunch anymore. Duckie Brown boys wouldn't be caught dead without them!