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2009 February 20

Runway Reviews

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Zac Posen Fall 2009 Zac Posen Fall 2009
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(NEW YORK) Zac Posen
Zac will be Zac, and chez Posen, chic decidedly goes on. Last night's spectacle at the Tents catered to young Hollywood at its best, offering a dress-heavy collection tinged with Victoriana. The sleeve--and more specifically, the shoulder--served as Posen's focal point, and day dresses and evening gowns benefitted from that no-nonsense attitude. A smattering of gold gowns, most memorably the bias-cut lame example on Magdalena--would serve Jolie and Winslet well this Sunday, while an ice-blue silk gown on Yulia reminded the starry front row of the 1940s-era glamour that 2009's red carpets sorely lack.

Vera Wang
Vera Wang downsized this season, showing her Fall 2009 collection in her new SoHo store instead of Bryant Park, but her designs showed no signs of the change. Predominately black, texture provided interest in the form of wrinkled cotton, strips of bias-cut charmeuse and chiffon pieced together, folds of tissue organza, sequined colorblocks, and—on the tougher side—techno gabardine and scuba. Citing "Peggy Guggenheim and her extraordinary life in Venice" as the inspiration behind the collection, sculpted skirts, oversized suits, and t-shirt dresses (brought back tight to the body with scuba corsets) showed Wang at her elegant, edgy best.

Isaac Mizrahi
Earlier this week, Marc Jacobs turned back the clock with his idealized vision of downtown New York in the 80's. On Thursday in the grand Celeste Bartos Forum in the New York Public Library, Isaac Mizrahi presented his fantasy Gotham in an uplifting collection. Backed by a rousing live performance by The Bad Plus, the looks rhapsodized the glamour and whimsy that have always defined Mizrahi's world. He paired exuberant plaids and stripes under full dramatic coats and offered lots of poppy nighttime sparkle and luscious fur accents, plus one of the biggest winks of the week--handbags crafted into hats. Equally whimsically was a run-of-show that listed look names like "Xanaxer," "Un Hapi Happy Coat," "Velvita," and Wreynold's Wrap". "It was so signature Isaac. It's always so good to know that someone is so true to themselves and how they live," said native New Yorker Candy Pratts Price. "It took me to a fairytale land." As one showgoer exclaimed on the way out, "It was so hopeful!"

Brian Reyes
Brian Reyes showed a grown-up collection that even Hollywood starlets (like Rachel Bilson, who graced his front row) will love--no easy feat for a relatively young designer. Pleated car coats, pencil skirts and ladylike blouses in subtle prints were the more prim (but not stuffy) side of the collection, while a draped Dutch blue dress with a front cutout kept it young and sexy. Though the pointy Manolo pumps may have been an issue for the models (three girls stopped and took them off mid-runway; all the girls walked barefoot for the finale), Reyes staples like chic cocktail dresses, slouchy yet polished separates, and a series of lovely evening looks were more than enough to make up for it.

Christian Siriano
Christian Siriano proved yesterday that he's the most talented thing to come out of Project Runway (future season notwithstanding, though even Tim Gunn seems to think it might never make the airwaves). His predominately mocha and chocolate brown collection had super-skinny tailored pants in textured gold, drapey one-shouldered dresses that could easily grace a red carpet, and pyramid-sleeve blouses and jackets, that, though impressive in their structure, were still a little fashion student-y. But his most striking moment came at the end of his show, when the gorgeous Sessilee Lopez came out in a full-length, long-sleeved gown covered in gold leaf—an entrance so dramatic that the audience broke out in applause. Siriano still has a bit of growing up to do, but he's certainly one to watch.

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