2011 September 14
Spring 2012: Tory Burch, Herve Leger, Vera Wang, J. Crew, Zang Toi, Rodarte
FirstView View Gallery
(NEW YORK) Tory Burch
It's hard to imagine that household name Tory Burch’s runway show yesterday in the glass-walled lobby of Alice Tully Hall was her first, considering her cultish following and phenomenal commercial success, the early and enduring support of Oprah Winfrey, and last evening’s bash for her new Madison Avenue store. Culling inspiration from the seaside French resort of Deauville in the 1920s, Burch turned out a Navy fringed sets were a tad funky, imbued with movement—but layered over a bauble-lined cardi in another shade of midnight sky, it still felt classically Burch. All in all, she delivered what her fans have come to expect: Wearable, easily sellable clothes. Ms. Winfrey and the troves of other rapid Burch fanatics would be wise to make some extra room in their closets for these looks.
Max Azria's Herve Leger's presented 30 looks at the tents, exotically bandaged with what Lubov Azria described as an “Art Deco meets Navajo” influence, filled with metallic and meant for the “opulent” customer who craves the limelight and “wants to stand out in a crowd and be noticed.” The line’s ubiquitous, body-con crazy silhouettes—comprised almost entirely of bandage stylings—were done a bit more delicately, dare we say, in its most recent iteration. The gleaming frocks, many of which looked like liquid metal, involved daintier strappings and cutouts on the arms, at the waist, on the upper thighs, the knee-high neutral suede boots—well, everywhere. But rich woven patterning, done monochromatically in bands spanning the body, lent a richer dimension to the Leger line's staple silhouette. Still sexy, but a bit more complex and multilayered this time around.
As guests waited for Beyonce to finally show up thirty minutes past the show start time, the crowd heard the sound of a clock ticking at full blast, as part of the show’s Alice in Wonderland theme. Dreamy in a delirious, gauzy manner, Wang’s latest came in peals of translucent white or charcoal monochromatic layers—a peplum flounce here, a complicated collared shift involving a diamond-shaped peephole and ruffle at the waist there—plus unusually-placed drawstrings all over the place. Eyelet detailing resembled not sweet florals or quaint, quilt-like edging, but crop circles or sound frequency patterns. Wang unleashed stranger, buoyantly color-drenched patterns later on, plus a handful of canary-colored numbers. “An exploration of tailoring and transparency…collages of texture and detail,” indeed, as the show notes narrated. The overall effect felt a bit like the hallucinogenic fairies that purportedly appear when Absinthe is involved, non?
For the devout J. Crew customers, fear not: boys and girls alike will find everything they've come to expect from this American staple from the brand's first trot to the tents, for a presentation bright and early yesterday morning. “We want to inject more color in small doses…we have a great foundation to build on without losing the focus," explained menswear designer Frank Muytjens. But with slight tweaks to the scale and shapes of the cashmeres, colorful separates, and shots of sparkle that J.Crew that the brand has rejiggered its entire business on, brought a slight newness to their "sum is in the styling” vantage point. A head-to-toe getup in a bright blue wallpaper print, tapered to a cigarette-pant finish at the bottom with a high-necked T avec ruffle at the waist, was a little kitschy, but all in good fun (and totally wearable, covetable, even, if worn as separates). Case in point: an oversized, slouchy turquoise three-quarter sleeved T was artfully untucked into a Limoncello-hued knee-length pencil skirt, with coordinating mustard heels, an armful of bangles and a structured lilac bag. And whether on the catalogue’s pages, on creative director Jenna Lyons, or at the presentation, it’s yet again—and always!—about that off-kilter but within-reason styling with the rebooted J.Crew as we know it.
While it might not be for everyone, that's clearly OK by Toi, for he has customers that positively worship what he does. You can tell by the thunderous applause that certain looks got on the runway. Such ebullience! Such whooping and hollering is almost akin to the parents on the sidelines of a kids’ soccer game, though the field is always fiercer, heavily embellished, and exquisitely spangled when it comes to Toi’s game, which was inspired by North Africa this time around. Toi visited and “fell in love” with the area 11 years ago, because of its beauty—equaled in person to what one might see in films and read on pages.” I want to bring beauty and peace back to our world!” Toi exclaimed. “With all the wars going on right now, I'm hoping to bring back the beauty of a bygone era, so we can all live a little happier and with less fear on our faces." Lofty goals to affect via fashion. But, hey: In a sometimes-catty industry, Toi always reminds us that fashion should be fun, risky, and bold.
The Rodarte sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy had a heavy dose of Van Gogh on the mind at the latest showing. "Van Gogh's brushstrokes infused pretty much everything we did,” said Laura Mulleavy, hence the profusions of sunflowers blossoming on fields of seafoam, rich purples, and midnight blue. The marigold accenting segued into modern armor-esque looks comprised of glistening, multilayered gold with shirred belts, interestingly angled slits and voluminous, flared armholes. A riveting teal number flaunted a square neckline, wide strapping and geometric layering that was a little '60s, a bit odd, but quite memorable overall. Despite a lack of air conditioning, which seems to be the other trend of the season, the Rodarte sisters proved once again why they continue to draw every VIP in fashion and beyond to their show.