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2009 February 18

Runway Reviews

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Sophie Theallet Fall 2009 Sophie Theallet Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Sophie Theallet
French designer Sophie Theallet may be an Azzedine Alaia alum, but you'd never know it from looking at her Fall collection. Instead of edgy and body-conscious, her looks were Native American-influenced, with natural shades and details like tiered prairie skirts. Theallet was missing the glam factor of her last collection (due to the Ugg-like Sorel moccasin boots weighing each look down), but details like pintucking and pleating showed that Theallet is a true craftswoman.

Derek Lam
Derek Lam's Fall 2009 collection may have been a PETA nightmare with all the sumptuous leather and fur, but it was a chicette's dream. A luxurious mélange of knits with shimmering sequins, leather pants (a key look this season) and fox or coyote fur stoles, Lam's collection put him on the level of Ralph Lauren for classic American sportswear. "Interiors, and layering of texture, shine and matte," Lam said of his inspirations this season. "Just making a very sensual statement." When Lily Donaldson closed his show in a shining gold panné velvet dress, editors' (and Barneys Julie Gilhart's!) pens went flying—could we have an Oscar dress on our hands?

Trovata's John Whitledge may be a California surfer boy at heart, but he presented a Fall 2009 collection that was pure Ivy League prep. Though he cited "French culture in the late sixties with the sexual, political, and cultural undertones that were mounting at the time" as an influence, his collection of three-piece suits and bow ties (for guys and gals) seemed more Yale than Paris. Quirky details made appearances, of course--like cardigans buttoned wrong and, on the girls, ribbons tied around wrists and legs.

Max Azria
Max Azria's ultra-feminine creations took a darker turn this season, with a nearly all-black collection. The first look was positively bondage-esque: a sheer tunic with "straps" of opaque ribbons. But Azria's signature romance came through despite the darkness, with lace, velvet, and drapey dresses. "Compared with other collections, it's much more rock and roll," Azria said of the Fall 2009 looks. "They have a very strong Victorian inspiration—we're emphasizing the turtleneck, we're emphasizing the shoulder, which is more square, and the sheerness and the layering is a style very Victorian."

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