NEW YORK FASHION WEEK - 3
AUTUMN 2012RALPH LAUREN - ZAC POSEN
Part 3 of my look at the recent New York RTW Collection for next Autumn will cover Ralph Lauren, the brand new 'Red Valentino' diffusion line, Reem Acra, Rodarte, Tadashi Shoji, Vera Wang, Victoria Beckham (2 collections) and Zac Posen...quite a lot to cover, but still only just under 100 photos, which is my psychological self-imposed limit for any post, as I believe that any longer than that and the poor reader starts to lose the will to live...one's attention span is only so long, even if you do take a massive amount of interest !!RALPH LAUREN
Ralph Lauren is possibly the most traditionally British
of all the American designers - he's more English in his influences than American, in the sense of creating the perfect American idea
of what he thinks it means to be an English Country gent (or Lady ) !! His work always reminds me of the era of the Great Gatsby - the US Aristocracy in a nation of equals !! That American version of the British Hunting, Shooting & Fishing set, his collections just wouldn't be complete without oodles of tweed, leather and cashmere, and loads of traditional Fair Isle knitwear !!
No surprises then, this time around, when the strains of the 'Downton Abbey
' theme music started up for the runway show !! British Aristo-drama is always popular with the Americans - as popular as it is with the Brits actually, it has to be said !! The Ralph Lauren show is exactly the right venue for this style of fashion. His day-wear consisted of men's 1920s styling redrawn for women - velvet trouser suits, tartan jodhpurs, multi-coloured Fair-isle sleeveless pullovers with flat caps, tweedy hacking jackets and plus-fours...all they lacked were the guns and the dogs !! This felt a bit like a costume drama in itself...
For evening though, he really pulled out all the stops - exquisitely beautiful black and gold dresses with Art Deco-style beading and gorgeous inbuilt jewellery - a gold feather collar with rusty-red beads at the neckline of a plain black evening gown, or a complete set of chains looped across the open back of a high-necked velvet column dress.
Right in the middle of all the black and gold were two brilliant shocking-pink dresses, which really injected a bit of high voltage drama into the middle of the proceedings !!
Here is the dress with all the back-chains - gorgeous idea, and certainly does away with the problem of deciding what jewellery to wear with it !!
I loved the next two dresses with their Art Deco-style beading, which fits right in with the general trend for 20s/30s styling...
How about this for a red carpet show-stopper ? An explosion of black and gold feathers over a slinky black satin fishtail gown...I'm waiting for someone to wear this on the red carpet - it's simply wonderful !!
The plain burnished gold pleated dress right at the end was stunning !! These last two dresses which closed the show were an absolutely fabulous pair, and perfect for a red carpet entrance to remember !! RED VALENTINO
Now then, it's not very often that we get to play with a new label, but in this post we have not one, but two
new diffusion lines to look at...this is the first, and showing in New York too !! The idea is that the two designers for Valentino, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri, have set up this diffusion line in recognition that many of Hollywood's younger stars really like their work coming out of Paris, but very often can't quite afford the cost, and for many, it's also a teensy bit old in its target age group...and so they have created this slightly cheaper diffusion line just for them. In Pier Paolo's words:'The diffusion collection is a romantic idea of a young girl thinking about fashion: mixing something new with something vintage with something couture.'
So think Selena Gomez, Sarah Hyland, Shailene Woodley (who you'll remember I criticised for dressing a decade too old, in her Valentino dress this year !!) and Hailey Steinfeld - all very young stars of film and TV who have appeared in Valentino at some point over the last year or so, and not always successfully either. Whether they look good in Valentino or not is a moot point, as they clearly love the label anyway !!
This new Red label has been created for that young US market, but also for the young Asian market too, as they have expressed the desire to open a chain of boutiques across Asia as the next plan of action with this line. This doesn't surprise me in the least, as this whole collection reminded me straightaway of the Japanese 'Lolita
' trend...possibly they should have got younger models for this presentation, as they all look like adult women dressed as little girls - it's slightly unnerving, and the knee-high socks certainly don't help one bit !! However, never mind - this line is going to be SO popular, just you wait and see...
I think they should really also be thinking about a store in Los Angeles and/or New York !! REEM ACRA
Reem Acra was a very popular designer with the red-carpet stars for a while, but she has appeared to be superceded by other fashion designers recently - I hope that changes soon, because I really like her work !!
This time, her evening wear echoed many other designers this season with slinky shapes covered with Art Deco beading, and a slightly Flapper shape to some of the shorter cocktail and party dresses - other trends she played with were Grecian draping and casual slash-neck styles, and a couple of body-conscious dresses with cut-outs slashed diagonally across the body in various shapes and designs - not one for the over-endowed methinks !!
Her palette was silver, gunmetal, platinum, or gold, combined with black or white, which went very well with the general Art Deco feel ... RODARTE
Kate and Laura Muleavy went off to Australian outback for their inspiration this time, in particular the Australia of the 20s - with a palette of dusty blues and greys, rich earthy tones of rusty-orange and tan, and sandy shades of beige and cream, all interspersed with black, and a very interesting line in Aboriginal tribal prints and motifs, the Australian theme was very well brought home here...
Kate Mulleavy talked about their particular inspiration after the show:
“We had a huge story to tell about the history and the landscape and the way we viewed where everything came from there,”
I loved these two short dresses in black leather, with slightly tribal-looking patterns appliquéd down the front - these were very original indeed, and will indoubtedly be popular with various music stars...
The other idea that I was rather taken with, was the free-standing lace collar, with an otherwise strapless dress - the collars attached with a strap down the centre-back...
More Tribal-inspired themes in these exquisite Aboriginal-type prints in rich rusty-red, black and cream, in the first dress, and orangey-tan and cream in the second dress - both dresses are amazingly pretty, in a very homespun way...I think it's the slight suggestion of an apron with the bib-front and all the ruffles !!
I also liked the star-shaped hair-clips with the short bob haircuts - all very 30s Depression era...
Trust the Mulleavy sisters to come out with a totally original, or in this case Aboriginal, take on the colourful tribal print - this hand-print is extremely interesting and the shaded subtle colours of these two dresses are perfect for it !! TADASHI SHOJI
Tadashi Shoji got his inspiration from the Golden Age of Shanghai, which was the 1930s of course - yet another designer to gain inspiration from that time !! His collection certainly suggested that era, with dark rich colours, digitised Chinese floral prints, tiers of Chantilly lace, stripey pin-tucks and lots of high necklines...it was quite a show actually, and there were so many red capet-worthy designs that I think we may well be revisiting this page several times before the year is out !! VERA WANG
Vera Wang has a tendency to overdo the ultra-sheer dresses sometimes - everything is very see-through, and that may be why she is less popular on the red carpet than other designers - mind you, she's not the only one as John Galliano had the same tendency, and he wasn't worn that often either - Christian Dior dresses were, but his own eponymous label, not so much !!
Vera made some headway to solving this problem this time around, with extra sheer layers underneath, and solid texture in the form of extra peplums, and also mesh overlays which covered up around the bust area - and very nice they turned out to be too...
I loved her palette of white and charcoal grey, powder blues and brilliant orange - gorgeous !! VICTORIA
Here is the second brand new label for us to look at - this is the new diffusion line from Victoria Beckham, who has only just really got her first label going...she felt the need for a cheaper line for her younger audience, and in the 'Victoria
' brand, she has really achieved her aim very well - except for two slightly older age group dresses that should have really belonged in the next collection below here, everything felt about a decade younger than her first and main label !!
Actually, this isn't quite the first collection for this line - the first was for Spring 2012 and was a great success - Victoria Beckham reported that her first collection for the Victoria range enjoyed 100 percent sell-through on Net-a-Porter before it was even online.
"They said it was unprecedented,
" she added !!
Little no-fuss shift dresses made up the main part of this collection, and I could see quite a few young stars taking to this every bit as enthusiastically as the new Valentino label - very different looks, but then, catering to a very different set of youngsters - these will be girls who aspire to be like Victoria - independent, strong and very much in charge of her own business (rather than shy, delicate and girlie, like the Valentino customers !!) - she should go far with this label and I will be looking out for this on the red carpets of Cannes and music awards ceremonies, I reckon !! VICTORIA BECKHAM
As for her own eponymous range, she brought out the latest set in a long line of plain figure-hugging dresses, with a no-nonsense approach - Victoria isn't one for any fussiness or frilliness anywhere, and these dresses are typical of her approach - body-conscious and elegant, providing they aren't too tight for you...
Geometric shapes, stripes of black against mainly dark colours, with plain belts, contrasting epaulettes, button stands, collars and cuffs, these dresses are flattering, if you are already a perfect shape - there's no room here for any extra weight !! ZAC POSEN
The same goes for Zac Posen's skin-tight fishtail dresses, for which he is deservedly famous and popular !! This time he brought out his usual goodly selection, from which I'll pick out the best, but first we must look at the beautiful little cocktail dresses he designed - these could be wonderfully flattering for any shape, given the flirty little flared hems, and figure-hugging but comfortable sheath shapes they involved !!
For his evening dresses, inspiration from Japan continued to give him plenty of Oriental details to play with and the best dresses were those that were more fluid - several of the evening dresses looked like they were a bit too heavy for comfort, and it was the elegant, softer and more languid dresses that we'll be seeing on the red carpet I think...
Plenty of origami-like folds and pleats were a feature of many of his dresses, without ruining that fishtail silhouette !!
The final dress was show-stopper, of course !!
I wish I had a close-up of that necklace, because it looks like a real humdinger, but sadly it isn't forthcomiong !!
New York Fashion Week was simply full to bursting point with amazing fashion shows, and a lot of them featured plenty of red carpet-worthy designs, but there are only a handful of designers who get picked regularly by the Hollywood stars, and it's the job of this journal to foretell which designs might be chosen over the next year's red carpet events - the next big event in the US will be the Met Ball - The Costume Institute Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, of course - that's happening on May 7th, so watch out for some of the dresses from the latest three posts being worn there - it's the biggest evening of the year in New York City !!
Next up, we're off to my own home city, London, for our own Fashion Week, which took place over five days between New York and Milan - we're getting squeezed again, but the problems of last season weren't quite as bad this time around !!