Monday, March 28, 2011

The Leftovers: New York Fashion Week FW11

When looking back, the tendency can be to view decades as some sort of monolith or as set historical periods that don’t need parsing. Yet each of those ten years is full of its own series of small revolutions, and rarely does what we consider a decade end as we move from the last nine to the next zero. Nothing about the end of a decade, or its beginning, is ever so sharp. (I’ve always thought that one of the strongest markers of the end of the 1980s was the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind in September of 1991. It reached number one on the Billboard charts in January of the following year.)

And so the 1970s, which saw Nixon and Watergate and Carter and the Iran hostage crisis, possess a complexity that cannot be ignored. The clothes of the era are not devoid of this intricacy. That monolithic idea of the era could be felt throughout many of the collections.


At Steven Alan

At Peter Som

At Tommy Hilfiger

At Chris Benz

At Rodarte

At Oscar de la Renta

Alongside these more overt references, there were other trends that when looked at in the correct light, also displayed a connection to the time. The silhouettes were looser. The lengths were longer. The waistlines were higher.

Long skirts

At St. John

At Vena Cava

At Prabal Gurung

At Carlos Miele

Sequined Pants

At Peter Som

At Erin Fetherston

At Douglas Hannant

At Michael Kors

There was also a color story on the runway. Instead of the many colors that were seen in some of the Spring/Summer 2011 collections, this New York season was about one color. Between cherry and fire engine live a group of reds that were seen on everything from shorts to pants to dresses.

At Wes Gordon

At Rebecca Minkoff

At Prabal Gurung

At Sophie Theallet

At Elie Tahari

At Bill Blass

The color blocking trend seen in the Pre-Fall collections rippled into the Fall/Winter collections. At times the colors were vibrant and striking. At other times, they spoke only of subtlety.

At BCBG Max Azria

At Costello Tagliapietra

At Jill Stuart

At Sophie Theallet

At Proenza Schouler

At Preen

At Narciso Rodriguez

At Tibi

At Calvin Klein

Photos via, via

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daylight Saving

Before diving into four weeks worth of fashion week pictures, I decided to take a break. I've been writing about non-fashion subjects. And reading books. And looking forward to spring.

Of course, all of this thinking of spring led me right back to the topic of clothes. We've seen the last of the cold, or the worst of it at any rate. I've stopped having to wear argyle knee highs to extend the life of my ballet flats. Tights are on the verge of being packed away. When I look out of window at 5:30 PM, the sun is still shining. Today while deep in the haze that I sometimes fall into when listening to my iPod, I stopped to touch a bud on a tree.

I am fully ready for the change of seasons.

So while planning three days in advance what I'm going to wear when it's near 60 degrees this weekend, I took to the internet for some browsing.

There was a lightweight, chambray blazer by Cartonnier's at Anthropologie.

And a Lili's Closet breezy top in what is once again becoming my favorite accent color.

Slim, ankle length jeans by Rag & Bone/JEAN.

Sweet, bow mary janes from Marais USA.

And a bright, frame bag by Cynthia Rowley.

None of the pieces that caught my eye epitomize spring, but I'm not one of those people who smells the first hint of warmth and jumps into shorts and espadrilles and floppy beach hats.

They simply reminded me that the time for sweaters and wool coats and flannels and equestrian style boots is coming to an end. And with that reminder came excitement.

Images via, via, via, via

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Chanel

Brand history can be a fickle friend. Creative impulses tell one to keep pushing, pulling, changing. But the audience can sometimes be set in their ways. Expecting this or that. Settling for more or less what they're used to.

Wrestling with the need to retain some of that history and the urge to continue challenging it is an issue that designers, especially at the older and bigger houses, face year after year.

At Chanel this season, Karl Lagerfeld took the image of the Chanel woman and roughed her up a bit. With her boots and jeans and slouchy tweed jackets, there was a griminess to her that isn't usually seen.

She was without a doubt of the brand. But she was also something else.

Photos via

Monday, March 7, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Céline

Since Phoebe Philo's installation at Céline, the house has consistently been one of my favorites. It mirrors my devotion to Chloé during her tenure there in the first half of the last decade. Those designers who keep me coming back are those who have a clear vision. Those who set the trends instead of succumbing to the shifting tides of the industry.

You can see the roots that she planted during her first full collection for the brand taking hold and spreading wide. Creating an identity that is never stagnant.

Photos via

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Lanvin

Austerity and luxury are as opposite as two words can be. They are, for the most part, the unstoppable force and the immovable object. Unable to coexist in the same sphere. But at Lanvin, there was an austere quality to the clothes. Something pulled back and restrained. Yet the fabrication left no doubt in my mind of the luxurious roots of the garments.

Walking that line between two such contrasting principals is rarely seen, much less handled with such dexterity.

Photos via

Friday, March 4, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Zac Posen

When Zac Posen is mentioned, I often think of the dramatic, the over the top. He's a showman and one of the best that the industry has to offer. But there are times when all of that drama and all of that pomp can weigh down the clothes.

This season, however, he stripped things down. All of the clothes showed a certain amount of restraint, and that restraint removed the fog. Suddenly one could see more of the mastery and artistry behind the garments.

There was still flare and flash and spark. But never too much.

Photos via

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Favorite of the Day: Hussein Chalayan

At times, it can be hard to imagine clothing as art. Yes, a simple tee does little to inspire anything beyond simple thought or inspection, but there are designers capable of creating something that takes one a bit deeper. Much like Jaeger London, the Hussein Chalayan show featured a play on proportions. Yet instead of simply working within the realm of classic pieces such as peacoats, Chalayan's creations wandered back and forth between mere clothing and sculpture.

Sleeves belled. Dress back appeared to be inflated. Tops billowed with pleats. It looked otherworldly while also being of this time and place.

Photos via