2011 September 15

Spring 2012: Michael Kors, J. Mendel, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Milly by Michelle Smith

Michael Kors Spring 2012 Michael Kors Spring 2012
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(NEW YORK) Michael Kors
A vacation with Michael Kors? Count us in. The legendary American designer (and recent Daily coverboy) is taking us to South Africa this season. Kors and his husband have been taking trips there for the past few years, and found his inspiration at the Lebombo Lodge for his adventurous Spring collection. Layers of safari-ready khaki, animal prints cut into jumpers, sleek monokinis, laced-up knee-high leather gladiators, tarp-like ponchos, a couple of caftans, cargo pocketing details, and pops of rich wine and fiery orange hues. "I wanted it to be the antithesis of the 30th anniversary show for fall," Kors said backstage after a show that included Michael Douglas, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Zoe Saldana sitting front row.  "Africa is mind blowing; it's an explosion for the senses. We wanted to play around with the textures that you see there," said Kors. To that end, there was ample hand-dying that veered towards tie-dyed territory, patch work patterns. The collection was a slightly rough-hewn departure from what his loyal customers have come to expect, but we're going anywhere the master is going to take us. 

J Mendel

Channeling the “first lady of design,” Dorothy Draper, Gilles Mendel turned out a clean-cut take on ethereal with polished paneling and quiet cross-hatched patterning for Spring. Silk viscose crepe was precisely drawn in hues of electric iris, cypress, lime, and navy. Daytime dresses in crème—high-necked in a shift style, or avec plunging neckline in a wrap dress silhouette—demonstrated Mendel’s deft, subtle tailoring touches, black trim peeking out of flared sleeves, and hemlines lengthier in back than in front, lending a bit of architectural appeal. Heels in coordinating color mélanges, criss-crossed with wide strapping in supple shiny leather, were equally as covetable.  Evening went the route of floating ivory Grecian-lite frocks, citrus-y chiffon—draped but not muffled or weighted down by monochromatic flashes of fur, as is Mendel’s luxuriant M.O., past and present. Even the Olsen twins tucked into the front row, with Selma Blair a few seats away, didn’t district or detract from the exquisitely rendered take on modern glamour.

Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

Romance certainly isn’t dead, judging by Alberta Ferretti’s frothy symphony of sheer pastel silhouettes flaunting shirring, wispy hemlines and bouquets of washed-out florals. Cascading peachy satin left the boudoir for a sophisticated blazer-topped number. And on the topic of blazers, j’adore Ferretti’s philosophy on the traditionally boxy boy’s staples. With Ferretti’s sprightly springtime touch, blazers became soft, color-drenched alternatives to a girly cardigan, like the oversized lemon curd-hued number piped in lilac, or a slightly skinnier cut in softly glowing silver. Patent leather, pointy-toed Mary Janes in lavender, electric blue, and blush tones, plus some sheer confections in oyster and ivory, beaded subtly, at the show's last couple of looks made modern fairytales out of the clothes on the runway.

Milly by Michelle Smith
Prep went Pop Art with Michelle Smith’s latest, thanks to the mod cap-sleeved minidresses, cig skinnies and ponchos—all saturated with geometric patterns in an amalgam of brick red, camel, white, and cobalt blue. French artist Sonia Delaunay’s chic works provided inspirational fodder for Smith’s design process, and even the end of the runway was splashed in Tetris-esque block patterning. Wide trousers in almost-black chocolate and ivory offered one option in the pants department, while minty high-waisted skinny capri pants would be an excellent choice for some chic errand runs. Solids emerged with chic sheaths in rich blueberry and jacquard, slightly textured fiery red, topped off with patterned bucket hats, rounded white-framed shades, and splashy pops of little scarves knotted at the neck, some tied two or three deep. Shape-shifting at its finest!