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2009 February 19

Runway Reviews

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Michael Kors Fall 2009 Michael Kors Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Michael Kors
When Carmen Kass opened the Michael Kors Fall 2009 show in a black satin trench, attendees knew it was going to be a gorgeous, classic collection. Seven looks later, when Karlie Kloss hit the runway in an acid green fox fur coat and matching cashmere dress, they knew it would be joyous as well. Kors punctuated his looks of black, gray, and camel separates with jolts of neon green, pink, and orange, in voluminous furs that were made for editorial pages. "What's not to love about Michael Kors?" Nina Garcia asked, channeling the sentiments of everyone in the tent.

"It's all about fantasies and fairytales!" said designer Georgina Chapman about Marchesa's fall collection. Actually, the season and the occasion to which the brand's dresses are to be worn may not matter; the creations of Chapman and Karen Craig are some of the most photogenic fabric spectacles around. For the fifth straight season, models stood in a stationary poses on the presentation floor--exactly how eager starlets pose on the red carpet. The selection of dresses was rich and consistent. Lilac chiffon, edgy black lace, scarlet organza, and sculpted jackets ruled the day. Marchesa has established itself as a singular category leader in American couture.

J. Mendel
Giles Mendel gave us what we love from him--fur--mixing it into a collection that was modern and practical, but with no shortness of glamour. We expected luxurious minks and got them, but he also showed smart tweed suits and day dresses. "The collection was based on classical looks from the sixties, but turning to a much more sharp and edgy moment for the modern woman of today," Mendel said after the show. A line of gorgeously draped, brightly colored gowns in crêpes and chiffons closed out the collection--just in time for the Oscars.

Juan Carlos Obando
Before Juan Carlos Obando's Fall 2009 show began, several editors in the front row wondered out loud why the runway was so narrow. As soon as model Iekeliene Stange opened the show in a pink and white airbrushed dress hand-worked into miniscule pleats, it became clear: the closer you were to the creations, the more amazing they looked. (Perhaps a presentation would have been more effective). Silk chiffon micro-pleats were worked into swirls and basket weaves, and an organza "feather" coat lacked actual feathers, but the fabric was worked into layers that appeared to be. Silk and wool suits that appeared simple from the front revealed intricate folds and drapes of fabric in the back. A series of comparatively uncomplicated white gowns closed the show, but there was no room for doubt: Obando is a master craftsman to be watched.

Nanette Lepore
When the lights flared and the music blasted--and the first technicolored dress rounded the corner at Nanette Lepore--the audience received a high dosage of sensory overload. These are clothes with punch, so no wonder Lepore churns out best-sellers time and time again. As usual, she takes a new twist each season, and those updated tweed jackets and twee ribbon dresses felt especially fresh, thanks to the a kaleidoscope of rainbow colors and modern cuts. Above all, the collection was the embodiment of cheer--just what fashion needs in times like these. Keep making these dresses, Nanette, and we'll keep buying!

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