2011 February 15

New York Fall 2011: Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan, Chado Ralph Rucci, Thom Browne, Theyskens' Theory

Carolina Herrera Fall 2011 Carolina Herrera Fall 2011
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Carolina Herrera
“It’s for the real woman of today,” said Carolina Herrera backstage at her Monday runway show. Her fall collection—in a color palette of cocoa, amethyst, black, gray, rust, turquoise, and Jasper red—was as straightforward as her vision. Take, for starters, her clean pencil dresses nipped at the waist with slim velvet belts. The smart staple spoke to women across the globe for its office-to-cocktail versatility. Other heavies of the show included sophisticated dress coats in flannel and wool, belted capelet jackets worn with sublimely tailored trousers, and a slew of sparkly gowns ready for their moment. Where was Herrera’s signature flare hiding amidst the functional favorites? In the trappings mainly. Basic elements were given the glam factor with fur trimmings and expert embroidery keeping the Herrera vision in the rear view mirror at all times.

Donna Karan
Donna Karan
designed her eponymous fall line around the typical “Donna” woman we’ve all come to know and love—a modern urbanite full of substance, conviction, and innate power. Of course, there was no shortage of stretch wool jersey dresses in pearl, silver, taupaline, and face powder but this season Karan made some celebrated changes to the lineup. Hitchcock-era models got dolled up in elbow skimming gloves, silk chiffon headwraps, and body-loving skirtsuits accented with fur and Erickson Beamon pearls. In particular, the wool wrapcoat in pearl and the high-waisted draped jersey pants were knockout winners.

Chado Ralph Rucci
Each season Ralph Rucci delivers what he does best: impeccable tailoring, luxury furs, and tons of mouth-watering color. The designer did not disappoint for Chado Ralph Rucci’s fall 2011 show as famous front row fans, Martha Stewart and Whoopi Goldberg, can attest. Pops of Valentine red and electric pink worked well alongside black, gray, white, and beige. Long gowns showcased racer-backs, exquisite embroidery, ornate cutouts, and dramatic sleeves. Coats ranged from ski parkas to vinyl rain slickers to fluffy fur numbers. “Ohhs” and “ahhs” were heard throughout; the splash embroidered strapless gown and the red quilted satin pagoda jacket with sculptural bell sleeves received the most compliments. As the show wrapped up guests gave Rucci a standing O. Well-deserved.

Thom Browne
Fashion’s finest gathered at the Edna Barnes Salomon Room of the New York Public Library to witness Thom Browne’s fall spectacle for 2011. Somber church music filled the air while guests watched two altar boys (Brian and Travis Davenport to be exact) kneeling at a candlelit pulpit. Just when we thought the show was taking a serious direction, Browne blared “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” as models dressed in abbey attire marched toward the boys. In factory line form, the dashing Davenports removed the models habits and robes one by one unveiling Browne’s signature elements, replete with plaid-on-plaid suits, heavy layering, sculptural shapes, and his Americana references. The designer showed capelets and capes, shrunken striped cardigans and menswear-inspired blazers, fitted suit skirts from knee to mid-calf, and structured theatrical costume pieces. Overall, Thom Browne gave one of the most memorable shows of the season with just enough real-world separates to please his devoted followers.

Theyskens' Theory
“My vision was to make a wardrobe of cool clothes to wear if I was a cool girl,” explained Olivier Theyskens after his first runway show for Theyskens’ Theory. Living up to the hype, the designer delivered a range of pieces—some short, some long, some summery, some pure fall—to take care of the everyday woman’s every need. Imagine a charcoal cable-knit turtleneck atop a gray maxi or a black duster slit up-to-there mixed with a basic smoky blue blouse. Pants, the focus of the collection, provided plenty of option with wide-leg or flare, slouchy or slim, denim or corduroy. Dresses were given a floor-length silhouette while jean shorts were just teeny tiny glimpses underneath a black blazer or a streamlined gray overcoat. Theyskens didn’t just live up to the buzz surrounding his much-anticipated fall showing; he soared past expectations with a directional vision that played out with success.