Saturday, 19 September 2009
Here we present the first part of our summary of the New York spring/summer 2010 collections:
The Mulleavy sisters showed a collection for spring/summer 2010 which was characteristically big on both creative vision and technical skill. The models were draped and swaddled in a rich variety of materials, from wool, to cheesecloth, to printed fabrics, to leather, lending the collection a ‘futuristic cave girl’ vibe overall. In some respects it is almost with a reluctance that we apply that label, since it suggests a sort of latent absurdity and pretentiousness, which fashion is often prone to veering towards, when in fact this Rodarte collection suffered neither affliction, since it was all held together and supported by genuine creative flair, and flawless execution. The crucial factor, perhaps, is that the overall impression, and the silhouettes, remained stylish at all times, despite all that was going on visually. Nicholas Kirkwood collaborated to produce the shoes again, which you can as good as guarantee will be extra-covetable next spring.
2) Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta’s show was another New York strong point; for SS10, de la Renta gave his signature very polished, very chic, very New York, aesthetic another airing, but there was a real freshness and subtlety to its attraction this time around. The cut was spot-on, the colour pallet included decisive jolts of teal, orange, chartreuse, and violet, and the show ended, as ever, with show stopping evening gowns.
3) Proenza Schouler
For spring/summer 2010, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough showed a very young, hip Proenza Schouler collection, which had its high notes (particularly among some of the prints and the end, and the luxe sportswear at the start), but overall the elusive ‘wow factor’ was missing. As Suzy Menkes put it “like a dish where the ingredients are good but never quite come together, Proenza Schouler presented fine things — but a collection without direction.”
4) Alexander Wang
To put it quite bluntly, we’re yet to be fully sold on Alexander Wang’s approach. There’s no denying Wang is hot property at the moment (and his post-show party in a gas station was one of the most talked – and Tweeted – about events of the week), but by the same token it all feels a bit ‘hype’ and lacking in substance. That’s not to deny the lightness and technical skill with which he reworked classics like polo shirts and khaki jackets, but a personal vision (other than to drive trend! hot! now! sex!) seemed somewhat lacking and, as numerous others have noted, the homages to designers like Rei Kawakubo and Vivienne Westwood at times seem to go too far.
5) Donna Karan & DKNY
Donna Karan showed a chic, airy, soft-edged and wearable collection for spring/summer 2010. Sheer fabrics and flowing cut lent some outfits an almost weightless quality, reflected in the colour pallet which stuck largely to whites, greys, and nudes, with occasional invigorating splashes of red.
Now in its 21st year, Donna Karan’s diffusion line, DKNY (pictures on the second row), is still serving up a healthy dose of relaxed, easygoing cool, but with a degree of classicism which prevents it from seeming too ‘hype’ – although the flip side is that at times the collection could have done with a bit more edge, to raise our interest levels.
6) Helmut Lang
The cut at Helmut Lang was as tight and razor-sharp as ever, to the extent that at times it almost looked a touch stifling, but generally Nicole and Michael Colovos showed a stylish, minimal collection, with that characteristic hard-edged sex appeal and hint of subversion. Well placed nude coloured panels added edge, and a degradé dress with an unexpected thin strap across the collarbone gave the creepy visual effect of overlapping layers of skin. The collection was far from groundbreaking, but we thought it was well executed, and it resonated well with us.
Eschewing the ubiquitous 80s references, the decade of choice for Joseph Altuzzara seemed to be the 1970s. That’s not to say the characteristic Altuzarra sex appeal was absent, but proceedings were given a softer edge thanks to the muted colours, use of soft suede, and floaty white fabrics. It would have been too easy (and perhaps tempting, given the positive reception of the last one) for Joseph Altuzzara to show another very sexy, very body-con, sparkly 80s inspired collection, so we applaud Altuzarra for taking a risk – and better yet, it seems to have paid off.
8) Victoria Beckham
Say what you will about celebrity designed collections, but Victoria Beckham’s fashion line isn’t shaping up badly at all. Sure, it’s still limited in scope to unforgiving, bodycon dresses (of the type of which Mrs Beckham is personally very fond), and some aesthetic variation, and the occasional loosening of the fit, wouldn’t go amiss, but the fact is, unlike most celebrity brands, we feel there’s real potential, and we’re prepared to take it seriously as a high fashion brand. Buyers have reported that consumers (if we dare still use the word in this delicate economic climate) are sold too, as their stores quickly shift Beckham’s dresses, despite their very high fashion price tags.
9) Anna Sui
Anna Sui showed a full-on, psychedelic, circus inspired collection, which was fun and upbeat, even if it did make us feel somewhat dizzy. Some outfits really did not work (think yellow and orange colour block sweater with three quarter length sleeves, worn over a long sleeved grey top, above a yellow tartan skirt, accessorised with black sandals and a black doctor’s bag), but generally we thought this was a cheery, strong Anna Sui collection.
10) Calvin Klein
A softer, less geometric aesthetic prevailed at Calvin Klein, where Francisco Costa showed a strong, sensuous and subtle collection. Several pieces were imbued with a feeling of almost organic decay, as the designer played with fabric deconstruction, within the overall minimalist framework; there was experimentation with volume too, and the whole collection was pervaded by what Style.com termed “playing natural off techno.” Save the few looks towards the end of the show in sickly pastels, we enjoyed this collection, which stayed true to Calvin Klein’s minimalism and simplicity, while simultaneously exploring new ground.
What are your thoughts on these NY collections? Agree/disagree with us?
Stay tuned for Part 2, which will include Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu, and Michael Kors, among others.