2011 September 9

Spring 2012: BCBG, TSE, Kimberly Ovitz, Richard Chai

BCBG Spring 2012 BCBG Spring 2012
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Max Azria's reliably wearable spate of frocks under the BCBG name, primarily playing in shades of gray with ample streaks of zesty tangerine, were splashed with geometrics channeling a sort of "tribal by way of Tetris" effect. Gauzy pleated color-blocked caftans featured deep slits at the neckline and announcing the shoulder as Azria's tasteful erogenous zone of choice for this particular collection. The perpetual Herve Leger body-con bandaging action from another Azria-designed label leaves far less to the imagination than the sheer confections in his BCBG line, begging to flicker in a salty breeze.  As for the athletic attire inflections at play? "We were inspired by tracksuits from breakdancing guys in the nineties," said Lubov Azria, Max's wife. For those of us pounding, but not necessarily dancing, on the city pavement, Azria offered up punchy limeade-hued trousers and tunics traced with a bit of neutral-hued Ikat action.

TSE has been the talk of the town since Brian Reyes was named creative director at the end of August after shuttering his company in October 2010. Reyes has been MIA for months, and despite industry rumors anticipating confirmation of Reyes at TSE last night, the designer did not attend the presentation held at TSE's Soho boutique. Brand reps issued a press release about Spring 2012, which was designed by the in-house team. Early photographs of avant garde shutterbug Man Ray influenced the latest collection, steering clear of any out-of-left-field surprises. On the contrary, the luxe knitwear company’s core basics reigned supreme with a little something for everyone in an earthy color palette of salt, opal, cobalt, sea foam, and storm blue. Dresses were offered in two lengths—floor-grazing or to-the-knee—with a one-shouldered theme throughout, while pants came in various tailoring: straight leg, relaxed cropped, and high-waisted cigarette. Although the roster was relatively small, with only 15 looks total, TSE will do what they do best with their latest collection: sell, sell, sell!

Kimberly Ovitz
For Kimberly Ovitz, inspiration came early in March when Japan was hit with the 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami. “I became preoccupied with the idea of disaster versus relief and man versus nature,” said Ovitz. On the runway, a softer, more feminine aesthetic was at play, thanks to the help of muse and forerunning architect Shigeru Ban, hired by the Japanese goverment to provide aid and relief via low-cost and recyclable paper, cardboard, and bamboo structures. Ovitz channeled the industrial digs with an ethereal yet utilitarian bent—a rust-colored silk parachute vest dripping with straps and buckles was paired with a ponte knit mini, while a white cotton cargo capri complimented a textured knit sweater up top. Asymmetrical jersey dresses, the Ovitz special, made their quarterly appearance for Spring 2012. This time around, the urban, fit-to-form dresses were revived with a fresh, free-flowing ease that buyers and Ban would both approve of.

Richard Chai Love
Love is in the layers, apparently, judging by Richard Chai's latest crop of co-ed looks in his subtly groovy diffusion collection. Moderately-scaled touches of whimsy, like seafoam stovepipes (for the guys), funky neon-washed bike shorts, and recurrent pops of a large-scale lily print in poppy and navy, involve just enough quirk to stand out in an urbane sea of black. "I wanted a kaleidoscope of fun colors, patterns, and I didn't want to be confined to anything," Chai explained. Convention-dismantling design choices included "tunics over pajama pants," according to Chai. But the electric blue lips and eyes swept with traffic cone orange shadow outsized the togs in terms of eccentricity. While many of the pieces solo are quite practical basics, there were a couple head-scratchers in the mix, like a monochromatic khaki kilt atop flood-length croppers for the ladies, or a men's sheer white athletic jersey-style T pulled over a black and white, vaguely floral button-down. But all the more memorable, and certainly a whole lot of fun.