2010 September 14

Runway Reviews: Jenny Packham, Jenni Kayne, Betsey Johnson, Wes Gordon

Wes Gordon Spring 2011 Wes Gordon Spring 2011
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"I was thinking of all the young girls dreaming of going to that big ball for the first time," said Brit tansplant Jenny Packham before the start of her Spring 2011 show. Showing RTW in Gotham for the first time, the St. Martins graduate didn't disappoint with a dazzling array of red carpet showstoppers. Packham practically offered up dozens of red carpet jackpots for stylists to covet with her masterful bead and chiffon work. The golds, metallics, and hand-painted prints were comprehensively photogenic stunners that seemed to beatifully reference the ghosts of Hollywood in 1934.

Last season it was horses, and this season? Road trips. Jenni Kayne is a West Coaster, but also a lover of all things New York, and so it made sense to draw on a cross country trip for her Spring 2011 collection. The 21-piece collection took us from the bright lights of NYC to the sprawling dusty roads in the Southwest. Wrap shift dresses, long sleeved henleys and crochet cardigans looked as if they could easily be packed up and thrown into a suitcase, only to be pulled out and tossed on again. Always ultra-practical and wearable, Kayne experimented with brighter colors this season. Kayne also again called on her MTV generation roots explaining, “I’m so inspired by the ‘90s because it’s when I grew up, and so I always return to that timeframe.”

The Tour de Betsey was the motif for Betsey Johnson’s Spring 2011 collection, so Johnson took her captive audience on a tour of New York with her collection, starting in Brookyn (a dress covered in a gun print and a jumpsuit that mimicked a yellow cab) and moving to the Met (petticoated, bustled and ruffled “uptown” wear), Central Park (think country-girl florals), Betsey Stores (lots of black and pink classic Betsey-wear), the Seaport (bedazzled sailor suits), and Times Square, for a New Year’s series of super-bright and sparkly gowns. The bicycle theme lent the collection a just-risqué enough catch phrase (every girl wore a necklace that spelled out “Ride Me” in rhinestones) and a cute narrative for the collection; behind the runway, a video played with clips of Johnson herself riding a bike. Sure, there was plenty of must-have prom girl fare for the glitter-loving tween set, but the clothes at a Betsey Johnson show are sort of beside the point. When the designer cartwheels down the runway at the end of the show, it can put a smile on even the most jaded chicster’s face.

Wes Gordon, the Atlanta-born, Central Saint Martins graduate may be a mere 24 years old, but he has already begun to garner acclaim and draw attention for his fresh aesthetic and fierce attention to detail; his presentation at the Empire Hotel marked his second showing during New York Fashion Week. The clean, airy color palette of chartreuse, teal, blush and army felt feminine and flirty, but also demure and utterly pulled-together. Still, there was a casual ease about the frocks, jumpsuits and separates. The former Tom Ford and Oscar de la Renta intern explained, “We were going for this young, easy, chic, sophisticated youth. Not a million seams everywhere, not aggressive bits, just a girl who wakes up, puts her hair up in a bun behind her head and slips on a dress.”