2011 September 13
Spring 2012: Preen, Creatures of the Wind, Norman Ambrose, Ohne Titel
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(NEW YORK) Preen
Virginia Woolfe meets Steve Jobs? An unlikely combination for the Preen duo, though they cite their inspiration for the collection as a Woolfe novel mixed with a palette of pixilated and digitized colors produced from some graphic design tinkering. Regardless, the effect was technologically sound and brilliant. The show opened with matte cotton skirts and shiny silk tops, both in the pixilated pastel print the team had dreamed up. With such a busy print, silhouettes were kept clean: above and below the knee pencil skirts and boxy short-sleeved tops. Gradually, a nod to the designing duo's British roots emerged, equal parts quirk and properness, with the subtle placing of a neon lacy collar here and engineered floral prints there. So as not to overwhelm, perhaps, the floral prints were shown in crisp black and white at first, with a delicate smattering of periwinkle blue. Sleek, flat front trousers with a bipolar color scheme of a whitewashed entrance and noir-graced exit were particularly captivating. Soft lemon yellow was the favored color, as underscored by the finale flurry of 10 sorbet-hued looks. Proving they have the background to pull off more formal wear, the two designers showed a final few looks with ornate white sequin paneling in the front. A rather white hot way to wrap things up, non?
Creatures of the Wind
There were certainly colorful creatures at the early 9 a.m. call time for the Creatures of the Wind presentation. Designers Shane Gabier and Chris Peters walked buyers and reporters through their 21 looks, an explosion of vibrant green, royal blue, canary yellow, and plum in textural layers of lace, unfinished silk, and jacquard. The opportunity for over-abundance was avoided when the designers paired a neon yellow skirt, overlaid with blue lace, avec a solid blue crop top. If one silhouette was strong in any given look, the accompanying piece erred on the side of subtlety, like a tailored plaid oxford topping a voluminous, acid green ball gown skirt. Even the dressier pieces seemed unfussy thanks to the raw hems, as seen on a canary yellow silk taffeta dress that the designers called “a t-shirt ball gown.” Seeing as the darling duo made the cut as CFDA Fashion Fund finalists, they had several Voguettes in attendance, including Amanda Brooks. Boutique powerhouse Ikram Goldman was in from her (and the designers') Chicago home base to support the team. Nearly everyone in the crowd was swooning over the treasure trove of jewelry, a collaboration between the Creatures guys and Erickson Beamon: precisely the kind of neon green crystal and rose gold cast-leaf tiaras that one would willingly invent an occasion to wear them for.
“Sun glistening on the Mediterranean like a sea of diamonds” read the program notes at Norman Ambrose's Spring runway. With only his second Lincoln Center showing, Ambrose is already being compared to Cristobal Balenciaga—for good reason. “I want to go back to beauty and refinement; I love using fine detail, fine fabric, and color,” said Ambrose backstage. “This collection was all about exoticism for the women whose lives are based on a jet set lifestyle.” Translation: a black silk dupioni blouse with silver high-waisted trousers, a monochromatic gold glass beaded bolero and brocade halter jumpsuit, a Tunisian turquoise embroidered blouse to compliment ivory silk crepe shorts, and a flowing chiffon caftan, replete with floral patterns and an embroidered neckline. The Asian influences, Mediterranean flair, and Tunisian references worked harmoniously together to present a cohesive collection befitting a woman who hops time zones on the regular.
With a jaunt to Paris on the very-near-horizon for Ohne Titel designers Flora Gill and Alexa Adams, as part of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund's inaugural "American in Paris" initiative, and the Anna Wintour flanked by a few of her masthead names in the front row, there was plenty to get giddy about for these up-and-comers, including the clothes. “The whole collection started out with this whole idea of optimism,” said Adams. The femininely cut separates, some in suit form and others materializing as quirkier combinations of cropped, boldly stripped asymmetrical top and high-waisted pencil skirt, were shot with red and bright whites that parlayed bold optimism. Color blocking remained a theme throughout, and knits paired with jacquard and crocodile cuffs accessorized the collection. “It’s about the woven shapes,” explains the designer duo. Flashes of cobalt and some dramatic feathered action, at the collar and waistline, whet the audience's appetite for something truly fresh, with hopefully more to look forward to during the duo's PFW expo showing and beyond.