2010 September 10

Runway Reviews: Billy Reid, Vena Cava, Bensoni, Rachel Comey

Billy Reid Spring 2011 Billy Reid Spring 2011
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Menswear at New York Fashion Week has a tendency to pick a schtick—bow-tied uber-preppy? Bearded lumberjacks? Polished dandy? Sporty neons?—but Billy Reid, GQ’s best menswear designer of 2010, has managed to bypass them all and still produce collections that every man can wear. Sure, there was preppy (a higher-waisted, pleated, cropped trouser felt fresh) and rugged (an olive army jacket), but also a fantastic tobacco brown leather jacket, a tennis-y white V-neck sweater, a denim jacket with elbow patches, and a suit worn perfectly disheveled with a buttoned-wrong shirt underneath. Could it be that the wonderfully normal Florence, Alabama-based designer just makes great clothes for real men—fashion-inclined or otherwise? Whatever it is, it’s working.

Though Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai were only toddlers during the Memphis art movement in the ‘80s, the decade played heavily throughout their boho-chic show.  Setting the stage were freestyle hanging painted wooden geometrical shaped sculptures that reflected the Memphis aesthetic of bright colors, geometric shapes, and a sense of humor. Channeling the easy, breezy style of Talitha Getty, their loose gauzy drop-waisted dresses and caftans floated next to tailored short suits paired with pleated halter tops and raglan sleeves.  Geometric color blocked appliquéd silk slip dresses popped amongst the neutral palette, paired with Halston-esque bold statement necklaces.  True to their So Cal roots, comfort, ease, and a relaxed attitude that doesn’t take fashion too seriously reverberated throughout their collection, which was complemented by their low-heeled natural wood clog wedges they designed for TenOverSix. 

Sonia Yoon and Benjamin Channing Clyburn adore a print, and they celebrated their love of all things lively and invigorating in their 2011 Spring presentation, which takes the Bensoni girl seamlessly from day to night. Long, flowing silhouettes are perfect for resting on a grassy knoll in the afternoon and shorter, kicky frocks were futuristic and discotheque-ready. The collection fuses two different types of girls: the bourgeois bohemian and the tech savvy woman, or the “cybergoth,” as the designing duo dubbed it. Yoon explained, “We wanted to tell the story about this girl who is hippie and bohemian, yet she’s modern and she’s on this acid trip into the future."

Rachel Comey described her Spring 2011 collection as more serious than some of her past spring collections, but as far as charm and delicateness go, it was business as usual. Opening with white eyelet, Swiss dot, and a featherlight, almost muslin-esque cotton, the blouses and frocks were almost reminiscent of doll clothes, and that’s not a bad thing; her coquettish followers will eat it up. Mini peplums and apron tops were just as girlish, though high-waisted trousers brought versatility, as did breezy print separates which were matched a la pajamas or mixed for a quirkier feel. Fans of Comey’s shoe collections won’t be disappointed in her chunky block heels, open-toe lace-ups, and macramé-strap wedges.