2011 September 13
Spring 2012: Carolina Herrera, Rachel Roy, Thom Browne, Alexandre Plokhov
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(NEW YORK) Carolina Herrera
The grande dame of pretty sophistication stuck to her glamorous guns, as always, with a healthy treatment of patterns, plus retro-tinged B&W looks and lush grass-green and Dijon saturated gowns. A dropped-waist silhouette in glimmering gunmetal exemplified the slightly casual-leaning angle of some of Herrera's latest: chunky silver gems cradling the collarbone and lining the armholes, progressively widening stripes of silver beading on the bodice, ending with a wispy flourish of lightly patterned, slim-cut skirt, reminiscent of newspaper in tissue paper form. Woven paneling resembled a tactile basket on a couple of lemony numbers, while bold pewter brushstrokes of liquid metal lit up another elegant frock. Sheer overlays in crimson, wrought with beaded black vertical dashes of pattern, were lively while still adhering to Herrera's enduring exercises in restrain, and replicated in cool palettes of icy blue and chocolate on a clean white foundation, cut asymmetrically at the neck. Wide trousers were polished at the striped waistband and dressed down where they tapered off with a cuff, cut just shy of the delicate strappy metallic heels grounding such looks. Classic Herrera means instant classics from the moment the runway lights dim (and instant queues of pre-orders, natch).
Roy went for romantic minimalism with her Spring 2012 collection. The romantic and femme are familiar facets of Roy’s visual geography, but the more masculine elements feel a bit fresh for the designer, via loosely flowing suiting and a couple of pajama shirts. A peachy column-styled floor length sheath, spiked with a high slit, petite mandarin collar and wide coordinating cuff, was sophisticated precisely for its simplicity. Inspired by the series of suits featured in the 1992 film The Lover (which Roy played on loop, on mute, as she worked) the collection is all about opposites. “It’s the idea of opposites that I think of constantly. It’s something that interests and attracts me,” explains Roy. To that effect, Roy juxtaposed the potentially harsh mesh, in the form of blazers and shorts, with soft organza linings. For the trouser-averse, cowl-necked dresses in tan-belted teal and lemon sorbet with a big floral plume across the chest were on offer. The balance of opposites continues into the accessories domain of shoes and handbags, the latter of which were executed in architectural, structured silhouettes. “I just really wanted effortless, modern and refined moments,” said Roy—and that’s exactly what happened.
The New York City Library’s Edna Barnes Salomon Room transported showgoers into a retro 1920s salon, buzzing with the sounds of “You’re the Top,” for Thom Browne's Spring 2012 presentation. Models posed pretty in life-size birdcages and mingled dinner-party style in a bevy of layered looks avec fit ‘n’ flare skirts donning sailboats or clamshell embroidery, trademark TB blazers (sometimes stacked two deep), suspended garter skirts, and elongated sleeveless vests. Cocoon coats, exaggerated sleeves, and a hearty dose of schoolgirl plaid continued from seasons past while striped culottes with crop top jackets and asymmetrical fringe cocktail dresses lent an au courant (and grown-up) selection for the loyal Thom Browne clientele. A sequined mermaid maxi et blazer combo stole the show. Ditto for the Wes Anderson-esque pleated polo gown that sent editrixes into a tizzy.
Since Cloak menswear closed its doors in 2006, Alexandre Plokhov has been keeping a relatively low profile designing under the command of Donatella Versace for Versace menswear. Last Fall, the New York-based designer debuted his namesake menswear collection with nods of approval from eds and buyers alike. This season Plokhov returns to the scene with a second menswear collection and his first full-fledged womenswear line, a Barneys exclusive. What was on his mind while making the military-inspired lineup? “Apart from sleep?” joked Plokhov. “I wanted to connect my two collections with a story: a recruit setting off to parts unknown and saying goodbye to his girlfriend.” Plokhov wove the tale in updated soldier suiting for his departing gent. Think ankle trousers, casual uniform-y blazers, and cadet caps in fatigue, khaki, black, grey, and white. The designer took it a step further for womenswear with expert tailoring on skintight leather cargos teamed with a shrunken moto blazer, an asymmetrical white cocktail dress with one easy breezy flutter sleeve, and a silk georgette shirtdress in cobalt blue or persimmon. “I wanted the finest fabrics—soft to the touch—for my womenswear. I didn’t want to just make menswear for women—that’s boring,” said Plokhov at his Barneys presentation. Boring? Not a chance, said Barneys. The luxury department store will house the designer’s latest wonders on the newly-renovated fifth floor.