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2009 February 16

Runway Reviews

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Mara Hoffman Fall 2009 Mara Hoffman Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Nicholas K/Sergio Davila/Mara Hoffman
PR firm People's Revolution pulled off an impressive feat Sunday morning when they staged a triple billing: Nicholas K, Sergio Davila (recently honored by the Fashion Group International), and Mara Hoffman all presented their fall collections in one sitting. It was an efficient format for fashion show attendees, who often have to run back and forth between Bryant Park and various West Side locales, but it was unfortunate that the clothes themselves were relatively underwhelming. Nicholas K showed his n' hers grunge looks in a collection that desperately needed editing; Sergio Davila gave tailored suits an edge with details like legwarmers, and Mara Hoffman's collection showed off its trademark prints in sexy (if clichéd) silhouettes, like the empire-waisted maxidress.

Lela Rose
Lela Rose took a pared-down approach to her signature girly-girl looks with her Fall 2009 collection, inspired by the rainforest and its less-pretty aspects: "The creatures on the forest floor, like beetles, beetle shells," she said after the show. "I think nature has the most beautiful things that we can draw from-it's a shame we're losing some of it!" Mixed textures like tweeds, stripes and plaids, and shimmering paillettes of greens, blues and charcoals brought the feminine collection down to earth.

Jonathan Saunders
Every season, Jonathan Saunders' collection attracts a limited number of editors and buyers somewhere between 10th and 12th Avenues. The seating is clever, the venue is small, and the music usually intergalactic. One wonders if someday, outside of his well-heeled and faithful cult of followers, the wider fashion world will be clued into Saunders' work. For the third straight New York season, the Scot confidently delivered a collection that was truly unique, challenging, and gutsy. "Jonathan has great sensibility of graphics, attitude with color, and this collection is truly unique," raved Roopal Patel. "Sparkle in the shoes is exactly what we need right now." Indeeed, Saunders presented a collection that looked like it was inspired by both Kazaks and Martians. The ripe red dresses were showstopping, mini dresses winning, the prints attractive, and the shoes almost stole the show. Model Lara Stone could barely walk in her shiny accessories co-designed with Louboutin that looked like Dorothy's ruby slippers on architectural acid. (There's already imaginary waiting list for their ownership.)

Miss Sixty
Miss Sixty may be a denim brand to be reckoned with, but its Fashion Week show fills Bryant Park's biggest tent season after season arguably for the production rather than the chic factor. For fall, the collection was all things '80s, from acid wash to splatter paint and graphic tees. The drop-crotch trouser made a spectacularly unsuccessful appearance in denim (and a denim jumpsuit), though it's undeniable that the low-rise, super-skinny jeans will sell-in any iteration. 

Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Furstenberg called her Fall 2009 collection "Nomad," which, according to Steven Kolb, related back to her own life. "I said to her in the car yesterday, 'How come every collection you make is for a woman that's on the go?'" he said. "She says, 'Am I ever around? I'm always moving!'...With her collection, it's just an easy thing, throw it in a bag and go." The magpie-esque collection was a departure from DVF's usual polish, with messy layers and mixed prints like leopard and camouflage, all topped with dramatic knit pom-pom caps. Super-trendy pieces like leather leggings and feathered skirts also made appearances. Though the styling may be a bit scary for the average DVF customer, the collection was also filled with soon-to-be-bestselling pieces like cocoon coats, cozy cardigans, and shift dresses.

Hervé Léger
The road to a rousing standing ovation at Hervé Léger certainly wasn't easy. Three young mannequins fell while navigating the slippery hardwood in challenging snakeskin heels. The audience gasped on at least five occasions, while the more balanced girls marched to the cameras without major damage. While the shoes were hazardous, the clothes were exciting. "This was a beautiful urban jungle full of sex appeal, energy--very animalistic!" designer explained. "I wanted my girls to conquer." And they did, with classic bandage dresses that were suddenly beaded and sparkling. The colors were rich, the fits impressive, and fresh prints abounded. With this collection, designer Max Azria sent a message that his two-year old project has empire potential. Don't be surprised if next season's showing will be upgraded from The Promenade to The Tent.

Erin Fetherston
"Tinderbox" was the name of Erin Fetherston's Fall 2009 collection. It was a sign that the cutesy designer was venturing into an even cutesier territory: dolls. "I did have a lot of images of antique dolls that I was working with," said Fetherston. "I kind of wanted to do a collection of the tin soldier meets the jewel box ballerina." That meant lots of full-skirted dresses and super-girly details: polka dots, Peter Pan collars, and bows adorning everything from gloves to coats to hair. The collection was punctuated by a few sharply-cut suits--refreshing, it could have used more.

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