2011 February 13
New York Fall 2011: Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang, Carlos Campos, Billy Reid
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(NEW YORK) Prabal Gurung
Is this the same designer who gave us colorblocking and ladylike separates last season? Prabal Gurung’s fierce Fall was all passion, and it showed. From the first look, a red faille party dress slipping off the shoulder, it was clear that this designer is more than willing to step up to the challenge. This was a full, legitimate collection of 40 looks, not just a parade of riffs on the same old thing. There were edgy knits (as in a cream long-sleeved sweaterdress), furs (a powder pink Mongolian lamb shrug atop a bias-cut evening gown), embellishment (darling, how much will it cost?) and of course, the sexy sheaths he’s shown for seasons. They most important message was look 3, that white-to-red degrade fur with a floor-grazing chiffon skirt seen on Frida. It communicated Gurung's brilliant understanding of a great designer's trifecta: texture, palette, and silhouette. The quality? Flawless. The spirit? All heart. The possibilities? Limitless.
With a recent anointment as the CFDA/GQ Menswear Designer of the Year and his imminent store opening, all eyes are on Alexander Wang. No surprise here. After all, this designer has effectively, and consistently, captured what his twentysomething Generation Y (or whatever) wants to wear right this minute. For Fall, that means leather bombers, new-shape puffers, glitter trousers, utility pants, padded tuxedo jackets, and transparency. Drama comes courtesy of capes and skirts made of wide, stitched-together ribbons. An overall emphasis on luxury (hence the fur and the formalwear) is especially timely, given fast-fashion's immediate response to the ideas pioneered on many directional runways, including this one.
“I saw Il Postino and I started to cry like a little baby. You have to see it!” said Carlos Campos during his February 12 presentation. Campos looked to the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda for inspiration; homages to the dapper South American writer threaded throughout the show from the newsboy caps to the cigars to the vintage bikes. The romantic old world collection left basic black to the minimalists and endorsed a more charming color palette of rust, cognac, navy, and forest green (the only color Neruda wrote with). Bobbing to tunes reminiscent of the Ringling Brothers and taking turns on the ‘cycles, models proved the jaunty collection was suitable for work and play. Trenchcoats, short and long, gave a literal wink to Neruda's wardrobe while speckled wool pea coats and leather bombers nodded to the subtle militaristic undertones. Denim trousers and everyday chinos came high-waisted or pleated. Wool blazers, polos and henleys topped off the ensembles in solids, gingham, and stripes. If Campos’ soon-to-be revealed womenswear is anything like his tantalizing menswear, we’re in for a real treat.
Southern hospitality was in full force at Milk Studios where Alabama-based Billy Reid presented his men’s and women’s fall collection in an elegant dining room backdrop. “I really wanted to focus on refinement. Sometimes we can get a little rugged with things. Emphasis was on tailoring, classic luxury fabrics, and subtlety,” said Reid. The designer stayed true to his word and pulled back on the grit to make room for hand-tailored wool herringbone trousers, cashmere cabled turtlenecks, and souped-up velvet dinner jackets for men. On a more casual note, navy chinos and dark knits mixed with tobacco-stained boots and distressed wingtip loafers looked more like the Billy Reid we’re used to. For women, black silk chiffon gowns were layered over dainty silk slips and toned down with a motor jacket. The chocolate calfskin double-breasted trench atop a black silk blouse and choco lambskin ankle pants was a stand out. Even with a polished spin, Reid didn’t lose sight of his roots. Skipping the bubbly, guests were offered good ‘ol fashioned Dogfish Head pale ale straight from the bottle.