2010 September 16

Runway Reviews: Michael Kors, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Nanette Lepore, Milly

Michael Kors Spring 2011 Michael Kors Spring 2011
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Here comes the sun! Leave it to Michael Kors to stop all rain during Fashion Week and summon the sun for a vitamin D packed collection that championed all things bright and warm. A self-declared lover of hot temperatures, Kors created a collection inspired by his beach house and his garden here in New York. Organza tank dresses and poplin shirts in shades of iris, daffodil and grass looked as if they had been watered and then sprung up from the ground. "There is a lot of length and I really tried to be very tactile with a lot of texture. This is the first time I've ever done a collection without any black!" declared Kors. "I'm in a sunshine state of mind."

Phillip Lim packed the Park Avenue Armory with adoring front rowers, including Kanye West, showcasing 42 looks, each delicate and bold in its own right. Playing with texture, material and proportion, the pieces were veritable optical illusions. A taupe cut-out dress, black laser-etched top and hand-embroidered flora-dot trench all oozed intricacy and a sense of ease. Shades of blush, oak, and taupe made for a soft, dreamy palate and icy blues provided powerful bright spots. Lim, was after all, inspired by a Charlotte Gainsbourg lyric referencing the color. “She walks crooked and paints her eyelids blue/dandie-lion, I wanna go there too.” Like a girl who paints her eyelids blue, Lim delivered a collection that was unapologetically original and fresh.

Nanette Lepore was inspired by carpentry for her Spring 2011 collection, which may seem like a far flung reference, but actually makes perfect sense considering her devotion to the garment district and manufacturing. While the influence was utilitarian, Lepore still delivered her usual ultra-feminine offerings in shades of melon, raspberry and tangerine. Apron-like silhouettes, ties and pockets roomy enough to hold an electric drill (or a two dozen mascara tubes) still felt glamorous, and Lepore also introduced swimwear on the runway, a first for the designer. She explained, "It's the idea of a woman being dolled up but still manufacturing and creating with her hands."

Sweet is not a foreign word for Michelle Smith. She is, after all, remarkably affable and churns out cheerful confections season after season. For Spring 2011, Smith still delivered her usual feminine fare, inspired specifically by Peggy Guggenheim’s trendsetting personality, adding depth to the sweetness. “She is such a fun reference with a quirky sense of style, and that was interesting because it can break up with sweetness of the femininity,” the designer explained. Bold patterns in geometrics and floral animated the frocks, blouses, skirts and shorts. And where is the Milly girl off to? “Well, if she’s anything like me then she’s going to Shun Lee for Chinese food!” Smith laughed. Cheeky patterns like an insect print injected the designs with plenty of levity, making for a collection that was, overall, a total mood-booster.