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2009 February 15

Runway Reviews

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Alexander Wang Fall 2009 Alexander Wang Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Alexander Wang
If Jason Wu is the ying of emerging American fashion, Alexander Wang is most definitely the yang. "Killer" was the word used by Bergdorf Goodman's Linda Fargo. "You are really something special," said Sarah Jessica Parker to the designer backstage. The CFDA award-winning designer raised the bar for this collection. From maximal coats with fur to an expanded collection of shoes and bags, the collection was as well rounded as it was fine-tuned. These clothes have the DNA of the chicest of downtown New Yorkers. The margaritas may have loosened up the crowd, but the show captivated their attention with sex appeal and effortless rocker glam.

Patrik Ervell
Patrik Ervell sent a sole female model down the runway in the middle of his show as a nod to his women clients. "It's menwear, but girls buy it," he said. The inspiration was awash with gender bending: Ervell said masculine women from the 70s and 80s inspired him. Standout pieces were the coats, like a double-breasted in white with a blue collar. However, the collection on a whole was not as revolutionary or intriguing as his previous efforts. Yet, it still managed to captivate a crowd of tastemakers including Terence Koh, Ryan McGinley, and Michael Stipe.

Innovation may not be at the forefront of Simon Spurr's mind when designing a collection, but his strong tailoring and mastery of pattern and color was obvious in the fall collection. The inspiration was loosely derived from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, manifested in the form of puffer jackets and a slick black suit. Spurr isn't looking to push the boundaries of New York menswear, but maybe that's a safe bet given the economic climate. There's no looking scrappy in this Spurr collection.

VPL by Victoria Bartlett
Victoria Bartlett stuck to her roots for her Fall 2009 collection, shown on Saturday at Focus Studios. Skinny pants, knits that simultaneously clung and draped, looped knit scarves, and--of course--layers, where undergarments are just as important as the outer ones. VPL's play-on-words (that's Visible Panty Lines, chicettes) may no longer be new, but her line of sporty, futuristic bras and undergarments sell alongside the rest of her apparel, and that will remain the case with her latest collection. She had specific inspirations--"There are a lot of references to the Picasso women, the surrealist times, how they kind of reconfigured the lines of where the body went," Bartlett said--but aside from voluminous, sculptural suits, body-print bodysuits, and human hair (yes, human hair) trim, it was the same VPL.

Vena Cava
They may have walked like Egyptians last season, but for Fall 2009, Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock were inspired by all things shiny and shimmery. "The inspiration was the hall of gems and crystals at the National History Museum," said Mayock. "Looking at a lot of the formations and using the shapes of the minerals, you'll notice that a lot of the angles of the clothes are a lot more faceted and there are geometric lines, and that's where that sort of came from." Added Buhai: "We like to call it neo-new age." There were tinsel-y trims and pieces studded with gems (fortunately, in a sophisticated and tactful manner), but all the looks had the easy, cool aesthetic that the brand is known for.

In past seasons, Ruffian boys Brian Wolk and Claude Morais have made their Ruffian girl East Coast prep-schooler and California runaway-inspired--but for Fall, they left the States altogether for a fabulously chic Parisian collection. "Our friend Antonia Thompson has an apartment at 7 Quai aux Fleurs and she offered it us over Thanksgiving," said Wolk. "So when we got there, we were all interested in the idea of, of course, the classic American in Paris -- or the New Yorker in Paris even more -- but also the idea of the Parisian in New York." They stuck with classic Ruffian elements like tailoring, ruffles, and innovative fabrics and prints (this season's contribution by artist Ann Koch: a print of a music sheet, transcribed from a Bach sonata.) Added were modern, timely touches like a perfect cropped trouser and beaded jaguar-print pieces.

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