2010 February 14

Runway Reviews: Gary Graham, Bensoni

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(NEW YORK) Gary Graham
Whether it was a graffiti’ed painting of Peter Stuyvesant or a mugshot of David Bowie from 1974 (looking impossibly glam, we might add), Gary Graham’s inspirations were not typical—and neither was the outcome. Grunge-y layers, asymmetrical cuts and drapes, and several off-kilter prints (occasionally bedazzled with sequins) made for a messy—but intentionally so—collection. Abstract print leggings topped with layers of knits may be tough for the average girl to pull off, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of wearable elements to Graham’s presentation: a cropped leather jacket with thick furry sleeves will be covetable for chicsters of all fashion stripes, and a gauzy black sequined dress may have been hidden under layers, but just a peek added a touch of pretty. Graham didn’t forget his boys, either; a last minute addition to the presentation was a handful of menswear looks. “We’ve been kind of building up to it,” the designer explained, “because all the guys I work with have nothing to wear! A lot of our fabrics just lend themselves to menswear. We're taking it one step at a time. It's a whole kind of different thing."

The backstory for Bensoni’s Fall 2010 collection took Benjamin Channing Clyburn and Sonia Yoon on a journey through the decades to bring grandma’s wardrobe up to date. “Our inspiration was about this girl who is rummaging through her grandmother’s closet who is this very glamorous and opulent lady with lots of fur and dresses and jewels, and the girl tailors it to be young and modern,” Yoon explained.

Using the concept’s broad theme to full effect, the line played with a wide variety of materials including wool, brocade, silk and fur.  The fabrics were adorned with plaids, checks, florals and paisleys, not to mention plenty of the Bensoni’s signature ruffles.  Amid the hodgepodge, one element clearly stood out. The designers' demonstrated a facility for working with fur that will hopefully be a permanent addition to the line. A look in which the designers topped fluid high-waisted black pants and a draped sequin top with fox-fur vest was particularly exceptional.