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2009 February 14

Runway Reviews

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Cushnie et Ochs Fall 2009 Cushnie et Ochs Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Cushnie et Ochs
Parsons alums Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushnie et Ochs may be young, but they've already generated plenty of buzz: in the girls' second-ever Fashion Week presentation, they drew the likes of Linda Fargo, Steven Kolb and Cathy Horyn to their front row. Their modern, streamlined collection did not disappoint. "We used very classical, sculptural elements, mixed with razor-sharp, sort of mechanical elements," said Cushnie post-show. "We were looking at assembly lines and mass production." Some pieces, like a funnel-neck coat and a tux, had a Jil Sander-esque quality, but the girls stood out with young details like cutouts, sheer panels, and plenty of asymmetry.

BCBG Max Azria
"I kept clapping in front row. I loved and wanted just about everything," raved country singer Kellie Pickler. Which is good sign for Max Azria, considering the Fall BCBG collection was atypical. Functional and artistic sensibilities of Constructivism were the main focus of a show that seemed targeted for a slightly older consumer than in previous seasons. There were standout party dresses unconventionally paired with gold tights, successful micro jersey pieces, and confusing velvet numbers. Strong separates, pretty clutches and platforms were almost lost in the overstyled show, but some looks will find their place onto store shelves.

Bensoni's Sonia Yoon and Ben Channing Clyburn looked to the City of Lights for inspiration this season--specifically, to a chic Parisian girl having an affair with a Japanese DJ/graffiti artist. You'd think a character so particular might be limiting, but Bensoni's array of elegant pieces (like a gorgeous black cape) mixed with edgier looks (leopard prints and graffiti lip prints) had something for everyone. "It's very young, fun, kind of hip but also very chic at the same time," said Clyburn. We say: these darling pieces will sell.

Costello Tagliapietra
Costello Tagliapietra put a punky twist on classic dresses for their Fall 2009 collection, shown at the Altman building on Friday. Citing surrealist artist H.R. Giger and Irving Penn's photography as inspiration, Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra sent plenty of their signature ultrasuede jersey dresses down the runway--models stomped fiercely, hand on hips--but with elements of catlike eyeliner and blue and purple streaks in their hair, the look was were anything but ladies who lunch. "We melded the two into this sort of sci-fi, powerful woman and that's sort of like the muse for the collection," explained Tagliapietra. Hand-pleating in dresses, an innovative "jodhpur sleeve," and Swarovski crystal details (used sparingly, thankfully) were successful finishing touches.

Jason Wu
Fairy tales were the theme of Jason Wu's post-inauguration show, but the designer meant business. All the top editors and buyers were in the house, and Wu didn't waste their time. For fall, he didn't do anything jarring. Instead, he continued to perfect his irresistible uptown aesthetic. There were plenty of light chiffon tops, delicate ruffled frocks, and tiered dresses to swoon anyone in need of a romantic closet staple. Craftsmanship on embroidered gowns was outstanding, and the collaboration with jeweler Philip Crangi an intelligent choice. This winter Wu was given the gift of spotlight, and he seized the day. " I wish I could finally relax," he said after the show. "But I have ninety sales appointments this week--ninety!" There will be certainly plenty to sell.

Yigal Azrouel
Yigal Azrouel looked to the dark side for inspiration for his Fall 2009 collection. "I liked the idea of dark and romantic this season," he said. "It's more rock and roll than other collections. I used a lot of leather." Leather was certainly a key element, making appearances in the forms of super-skinny pants, a stunning leather paillete dress, and a truly covetable pinstudded leather jacket. Not everything had such a hard edge, though; Azrouel's signature draping appeared in several dresses and casual tanks. "Sometimes I don't really know what I'm doing," Azrouel said, "but it comes out when I start draping. I'm a draping designer."


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