2011 September 8
Spring 2012: Steven Alan, Rachel Comey, Jenni Kayne, Sachin + Babi, NUMBER:Lab, Degen
(NEW YORK) Steven Alan
In June, we saw Steven Alan’s quintessential couple travel to Montauk in wintertime for his first full Resort showing. This season? “They went all over the place!” smiled the designer. “Alex Katz was my inspiration. We were all reading his books and putting up a bunch of his watercolors in the office,” he added. It's not difficult to see why the New York native took to the Brooklyn-born artist, made famous by his figurative Pop Art paintings. The hipster icon transformed Katz's brightly-colored works into a mélange of unfussy separates for Spring 2012: simple shifts in butternut, crisp aquamarine stovepipes, everyday flat-front shorties in black, and wide-leg denim. No frills. No fuss. No plain Janes. Take, for example, Alan’s shrunken black and white gingham pantsuit or his nostalgic baseball-print Crawford dress paired with Mary J's and a wide brim straw chapeau. How about the khaki silk PJ-for-day set peppered with whimsical sea shells? 1960s Americana at its best. As Alan aptly summed it up, “It’s not really East or West Coast. It’s just good stuff.”
Feting 10 years in the biz, Rachel Comey spared no expense for her Spring 2012 anniversary show with Waris Ahluwalia, The Like's drummer Tennessee Thomas, and a bevy of bloggers perched front and center at Pier 59. Models stomped down the runway to the tribal beats of I.U.D., outfitted in a collection that was less of a retrospective, as one might expect, and more of a natural progression from seasons past. The once-whimsical Comey prints (think Fall 2009’s swinging monkeys), evolved into screen-printed cable knit on handkerchief hem silk dresses, screened tartan on sheer caftans, and landscape scenes by French artist Rosemarie Auberson atop white sack shifts. Dual-tone brogues and androgynous bed slippers caught the eye of Susie “Bubble” Lau and The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine, but it was Comey’s just-launched swim—corseted onesies and classic monokinis—that made the biggest splash.
A very recent PR shift had more than a few chicsters running around Washington Street in search of Jenni Kayne’s Spring showing, which actually took place at BPCM’s HQ at 25th St. and 10th Ave. But what’s Fashion Week without a little adventure, non? Such an adventure must have been on Kayne’s mind with her S/S 2012 collection inspired by a city girl on a weekend jaunt to the country club. The three-delivery showing was brimming with functional, fail-safes for every occasion. There was the dotted navy day dress trimmed in black leather cuffs for the lunching crowd. Bubble gum pink suiting was a parfait fit for the (creative) office set—knee-grazing shift, lightweight boxy jacket, and shorts included. Tangerine linen pants, an airy almond and black color-blocked shirtdress, and a zip-back leather moto took care of the weekenders. For late nights, the designer introduced white patchwork sequins in the form of a mini and sheer silk button-downs. All in all? A staple-heavy collection that’s sure to make a strong showing on the sales floor.
Sachin + Babi
Awash with citrus hues and subdued touches of creamy paillettes and black leather, Sachin + Babi’s ‘70s vixen was probably sipping Champagne at Studio 54 instead of knocking back shots, or whatever they did back then, and dancing (in her softly metallic open-toed booties) in moderation instead of boogeying front and center. Grecian gowns, glittery knit maxi skirts, and breezy cuffed shorts channeled all the right notes of muses Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall, and Faye Dunaway, erring on the side of elegant. The days of disco appealed to the married duo of designers because of their own formative years in the city and the industry. “There was a second revival of sorts of seventies style in the early 1990—that’s when I had my first introduction to fashion in New York, so it’s stuck with me since and feels relevant today,” explained Sachin Ahluwalia. On the accessories front, skinny, muted-metallic belts and a clever slew of Rorschach-inspired baubles added classily low-wattage glimmer to the frocks on display.
The boys of NUMBER:Lab’s urbanely slick athletic ethos were back with a bang—literally—at yesterday’s presentation at The Standard’s wood-paneled Highline Room. A handful of buff, tattoo-strewn models thudded onto the runway atop skateboards, donning Luis Fernandez’s array of tailored, sleek separates fit for swaggering around the city. Shades of grey (and Warby Parker shades on every chisled face) were accented by skinny stripes, a pop of ‘80s-by-way-of-2112 graphic patterns designed in collaboration with artist Joseph La Piana, slices of tangerine and coolly deconstructed suiting in cobalt blues. Besides Fernandez’s fascination with skateboard culture, he culled inspiration from Picasso’s stripy, cheerful "Bathers With Beach Ball 1928” painting. While Fernandez was relived that the latest sporty runway flourish—last season, his models were ice skating—went off without a hitch or a scuff in sight, don’t expect him to give it a spin himself anytime soon. “Absolutely not! I would be walking around in a cast.”
Knitting tutorials. On-site dreadlocking lessons. Ice cream cones. Not exactly your typical presentation at The Box, but Brooklynite Lindsay Degen isn’t your typical designer. The 23-year-old Knitting Nation (performance group) member has already racked up her third VPL collab along with an emerging designer nod from Elle. Her debut collection of hand-knit lingerie (staged at The Artisanal House) even drew Bill Cunningham, who hung around snapping candids and risque shots of the outdoor sculptures dressed in itty-bitty knitwear with strategically-placed accoutrements. Inside, a rough-and-tumble gang of mods posed in coquettish racer-back crop tops and striped bralettes, nubby mismatched toe socks, and must-have, multi-colored bottoms. Attendees intrigued by Degen’s hobby-turned-profession gave it a go with ‘ole fashioned knitting lessons in one corner or a dread station in the other. “I haven’t had a hair wrap since Disney World, ’96,” said one smiling ed. Fanfare and games aside, one thing is for certain: Degen is a name to remember.