There was something decidedly premature about many of the pre-fall collections offered over the last few days. Much like infants taken from the oven a few months too soon. Some actually looked as though they'd been yanked from the life supporting incubators, tossed down a runway or in front of a photographer and tossed back. I seriously wonder if some of them will survive. A head, 10 fingers and 10 toes doesn't mean that the little one is alive , let alone ready for the bright glare of the critics. Many of these collections were mercifully small. Some were regrettably large. More has never been a rule for better and a few key collections proved this .
I mentioned in my last Post that Oscar de la Renta sent out a rather sad lineup of exits. There were a handful of looks that were directional,modern and provocative. They were more in the daytime phase . Beautiful,yet simply draped silk tunics,more like actual dresses,over pants were two complete statements in themselves. Too much of the collection looked forced. It was a pendulum swing between the expected and the sure sellers.
Badgley Mischka was very tired. They were recently resold (the Collection) and it looked as though they were shackled to the OLD BM look. Apparently the lower priced Platinum collection is selling ,so that one gets the gas. This one was definitely running on empty. There were only about 15 looks and all were poorly made and depressingly predictable. That isn't to say that there's no life there, only that the pulse is so faint that it's any ones call.
Francisco Costa's collection for Calvin Klein, which very often is one of the most forward collections in this country was surprisingly self conscious. Not cool, but somehow trying too hard. The fabrics were so tech based and hard in many instances, they looked sculpted and uncomfortable. Many of the cuts looked poorly tailored. Some of the coats and jackets were unflattering. I was disappointed and wondering what was in his head. The fact that so much was black didn't disturb ,but black clothes call for a precision and degree of brilliance that color can easily camouflage. Black leaves very few places to hide technique. It's either banal or merely derivative or it's great in it's own way. Too many looks were between banal and derivative. The pieces in white were just forgettable . Modern isn't always that thought provoking. In the end one felt anesthetized...drowsy.
Isaac Mizrahi cobbled together a collection that was supposed to evoke 'comfort clothes'. He quipped that they were the equivalent of Mac and Cheese dressing. Cheese was about the best that could be said for it. I don't get the press' fascination with his design aesthetic. From unappealing dresses,coats,Jammie suits to ugly satin construction boots it was a thankfully brief cavalcade of unattractive looks.. The evening gowns were no less interesting than his day looks with the exception of the first suit. To think that he's the Creative Director of Liz Claiborne leaves me speechless.
Zac Posen went on a nostalgia trip back(again) to the forties. That is easily my most unfavored periods. There were some lovely dresses. He has a gift for dresses, but it was all a bit too literal . Fringe abounded and suits that looked like vintage store copies. Leopard prints were the highpoint in dresses ,a jacket and the lining of a full length peach leather coat. He is a rising star but I can't see the brilliance that so many others do. He still appears to be searching for a voice . I'm waiting to hear his own and not the whispers of others' who came before.
Vera Wang was regrettable. But that's not news.I saw 1 dress that was great , but only 1. Her styling is beyond me and the choice of models looked like early cro-magnon women. Very Museum of Natural History Diorama. Not modern and certainly not pretty.
Donna Karan found this season's signature drape and worked it left right and center. Some great things especially for evening. Silk jersey draped gowns that were probably the best of all the contenders, but overall it was Donna in a zen time warp. OM.
Narciso Rodriguez saved the day from the very first exit. The MOST perfectly cut charcoal coat. Narrow shoulders,shaped waist and beautifully curved hips gave it the shape of a perfect hour glass. That coat was IT. From there simple straightforward artful separates and great young cool dresses. Some were in his now signature cut out theme and others very young ingenue looks with controlled full skirts and wrapped or draped sexy bodices. All in all a fresh, always fresh take on cool urban dressing that works anywhere on all ages. His collection was what a fall collection or Pre-Fall should be. Complete.
Now let's see who will buy.
On the Street…The Fortezza, Florence
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