2010 September 11

Runway Reviews: Rag & Bone, BCBG, Nicole Miller, Ports 1961

Rag & Bone Spring 2011 Rag & Bone Spring 2011
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Beginning with the idea of desert warfare, Marcus Wainwright and David Neville delivered a women’s collection that masterfully balanced the delicate with the tough. True to Rag & Bone’s utilitarian form, the duo paid fierce attention to the nuances of softer, lighter fabrics and heavier elements. “There is chiffon, for example, and then with the last few looks, that fabric is about 80 percent metal” Wainwright explained backstage. Last season the Englishmen drew on their British heritage, inspired by English Mount Everest climbers and this season they again referenced their roots, starting with the notion of the English fighting in North Africa. Expanding beyond the military look, Wainwright noted, “We also looked at underwear, from 1950s corsets to modern day bondage. It all tied in.” Shocks of color in crimson, cornflower blue and airy seafoam green lit up the more muted overall palette.

Max Azria definitely has a love affair with the young Hollywood set--- so it's no wonder that the silhouettes from his Spring 2011 collection will complement the frames of the young and perfectly lithe physiques that prevail in La La Land. Azria used soft flowing silk, crepe de chine, and laser cut fabrics in a sea of neutral colors; white, taupe, and dove grey with the occasional pop of peony and yellow completed the collection of these effortless and clean looks. The focus was clearly on legs this season; from micro mini shift dresses with a hint of tulle at the hem to short shorts jumpsuits, these minimalist pieces were only embellished by tonal color blocking, laser cuts or soft folds that draped into place as the models glided down the runway.  Completing the looks were his to-die-for python ankle wrap heels and asymemetrical sandals.

Nicole Miller played with proportions for Spring 2011, opening with a look on Eniko comprised of a cropped jacket, tunic-length georgette blouse, and long chiffon skirt—three levels, three layers of interest. The longer lengths (even shorts, in nearly-sheer georgettes, were Bermuda-length) seemed fresh after who knows how may seasons of Spring micro-minis. The collection had a techy vibe—many of the jackets were finished with inside-out seaming, and fabrics included neoprene and stretch net—but it was balanced with an airy, almost ethereal side; featherweight floor-length chiffon skirts breezed behind the models as they walked, undone straps and ribbons trailed. It was feminine, but not overly so, and though many of the too-sheer-for-the-sales-floor looks will have to be tweaked, there’s plenty for real women to love.

PORTS 1961
Inspired by North Africa circa the 19th century, the collection had a beautiful base palette of nude, chalk, and gray rendered in silk, lace, and chiffon. Tiny details such as horizontal pleating in the back of a knit dress or a partially concealed belt on an evening gown added welcome bits of interest. What caught our eye was the bold necklace created out of flexible halogram plastic and dubbed the “pyrite spectrum necklace.” Of course, the final gown, worn by show opener and closer Freja, was a shirred strapless vision of beauty that was more than a bit similar to those lavander Nina Ricci gowns around the Olivier Theyskens time.