2010 June 18

Runway Reviews: Chris Benz, Donna Karan Urban Zen, J.Mendel, VPL by Victoria Bartlett

Chris Benz Resort 2011 Chris Benz Resort 2011
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(NEW YORK) Chris Benz
True to form, Chis Benz’s Resort 2011 presentation showcased his keen sense of whimsy and joyful color palette. Citing mid-century California sculptor Sascha Brastoff as inspiration, Benz’s creations celebrated the lighthearted, laidback nature of the West Coast. Models donned bouffant hairstyles, while classic cigarette pants and box-cut jackets were an ode to Americana but with an updated twist. Lively hues in moss green and cerulean popped against more delicate lemon meringues, and fabrics looked as if they had been peeled from the upholstered loveseat of a lush, 1950s home. Attention, Betty Draper!

Gilles Mendel's side gig as a New York City Ballet costume designer on "Call Me Ben" resuled in one of his strongest Resort collections to date. Dance-influenced, although blessedly not literally, the pieces focused on movement and fluidity. A sculpted strapless dress with a bustier nodded to a costume bodice, while longer silk versions with sweeping skirts mimic the Romantic tutus. And there was plenty of modernity (and fur) to appease Mendel's myriad loyalists. A nude nude, body-con short-sleeved day dress will appeal to those with a wry take on sexiness, but the longer version with a portrait neckline will dominate the Fall benefit season for those smart enough to order one immédiatement.

Donna Karan Urban Zen
Donna Karan’s Urban Zen collection is an amalgamatyion of neutral colors and loose fitting outfits. The models, who lounged on pieces from Karan’s new furniture line, were accessorized with chunky beaded necklaces, handmade in Senegal. Karan bucked trends and opted to show clothes that are currently available in stores. True to form, Karan delivered a collection of comfortable and layered clothing, including loose-fitting dresses, pants, and jumpsuits. Urban Zen is both “timeless and seasonless,” with a variety of grays and blues that are suitable all year long.   

VPL by Victoria Bartlett
Victoria Bartlett knows the importance of comfort and practicality when it comes to underpinnings, and once again she has carried this idea over to resort. Neutral hues dominated while shots of sky blue and saffron yellow illuminated the collection. Refreshingly, each design promised to flatter a plethora of figures. Finely-crafted pieces like loose and effortless off-the-shoulder sweaters or draping asymmetrical frocks were, true to VPL form, famously unfussy.