RSVIP: Mercedes-Benz NYC Fashion Week at Lincoln Center (Part I)
RSVIP's first show at the new tents at New York's Lincoln Center was Christian Siriano, the "Project runway" winner on Thursday, September 9. Backstage, Siriano spoke of mixing cultures and ethnicities. But on the runway, we spotted several trends that would be hammered home again and again this season: tan leather skirts, jackets, and dresses in the style of the original "Planet of the Apes"; thin rope belts; big, fat double-clasp leather belts; sheer fabric as an overlay; colorful prints; mixing belts with ball gowns; and dynamic, arty prints. And while Siriano hit these notes, one couldn't help but feel that if the gigantic fluffy ball gowns that he ended the show with, right, had been made by Oscar de la Renta's tailors, they would have been a fashion editor's dream. Sand and taupe, by the way, are the new black.
At 6:00 p.m. that day at Milk Studios, on West 15th Street, a serious jaunt from Lincoln Center, designer Jen Kao covered the runway with mandala-like sand drawings. And the collection included sandy desert hues. The stringy sandal straps snaked up the legs of models. And we saw macramé, large leather patches sewn onto dresses, and much sheer tied on and sewn over sheer pants, sheer skirts, and flowing sheer shirts.
And while some of the clothes appeared overwrought in person, they photograph beautifully. RSVIP spotted Kelly Rowland in the front row, but it was tricky to chat before the show without disturbing the sand.
While Cynthia Rowley hit some trends, she injected every piece in her collection with spirit and inventiveness. It was one of her best shows in memory. Many designers showed cutouts, but Rowley opened with a gray dress that had round holes punched in the chest area--peek-a-boob windows. She mixed sandy gray with sheer in a fun horizontal stripe, alternating the two fabrics. One skirt and then a dress had holes punched near the hem. Buttons covered some outfits; smooth, round stones, others. She mixed plaids and sheer. The entire collection was all-Rowley all the time, subtle and inspired. Brava.
Jill Stuart, too, picked up her game at Lincoln Center. At the David Koch Theater, where the New York City Ballet dances, Stuart's front row was celeb-saturated, with Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and Brad from the Rachel Zoe Project. Stuart, whose work had been growing out of touch in recent years, was suddenly on her game. She did one pattern that had a black silhouette of people marching on a silky, sheer white blouse. She did a ribbed sheer dress with a '50s flair. Black pants shimmered. And her lemony doodle print was sheer heaven.
Prabal Gurung hails from Katmandu. And Demi Moore is his loyal customer. He began his show with some retro color, orange and blue in geometric color blocking. And then the colors became more subtle, ribbon-like blue lines drawn on a white dress, with long, orange shapes then sewn on. His art print looked like orange paint had been blown across the fabric with a straw. There were errant zips, cutouts, and artful shapes. Every dress was unique. One looked as if it had been literally cut to ribbons. He made a blouse from smooth, black stones sewn together. He created flowers out of fabric, as well as adding futuristic "Jetsons" swirls of sheer fabric. We saw lemony-saffron. Sheer-shoulders. He is a bold new talent.
Saturday, Angie Harmon, having back trouble, practically limped into the David Rubenstein Atrium for Christian Cota, another arty young designer. His colorful spring pattern was a light abstract-impressionist print. Cota did sheer panel cutouts and one embellished sandy skirt that looked like a computer board. A white Betty Rubble dress had one shoulder covered in sheer and the other holding up the sling of the cave-woman dress. A billowing sand gown with tan overlay was another dreamy Cota moment.
Designer Charlotte Ronson at 6:00 p.m. at The Stage, delightfully revisited grunge. The models wore stocking caps. But Ronson kept it up-to-date by starting with a sheer orange note over black lingerie. Her lemony-yellow dress was nearly see-through. And one sheer sand dress came down the runway with a hoodie draped over the model's head.
At 7:00 p.m., at The Theatre at Lincoln Center, during Z-Spoke by Zac Posen, one model fell but got up quickly to cheers by Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons in the front row, who filmed her with pocket devices. Posen's new lower line, left, had more funk than his previous high-end collections. The gals wore two-fingers-wide panels of bright color near the eyes, rag-top dos, and platform shoes. The bright, mismatched patterns were more Betsey Johnson than Vivienne Westwood. But it felt ungenerous, as if Posen weren't willing to offer up elegance to his low-end customer.
And at 9 p.m., Luxist's day ended at Milk Studio with a spectacular show by Joseph Altuzarra. There were some nods to the trends: a slit in a wrap dress, a fluorescent rope belt. But there was also what seemed to be a kind of homage to the space age suits of designer Stephen Sprouse, a rock-star designer of the 1980s. A lemony sheer top was matched with a snake skirt, with a patch of metallic fabric on one side. Snakeskin panels made shapes down the front of a clingy white dress. Madonna cone breasts were sewn into a shirt coat. Altuzarra's work was sleek and elegant. A wash of bright fluorescent color painted the sides of models' heads. The clothes were clever, but seamlessly crafted. Altuzarra gave us both edge and art. To mention that he has a bright future would be an understatement.