2009 September 12
(NEW YORK) BENSONI
Bensoni’s objective this season was to take everything that is cliché (and even tacky!) about American culture, and transform it into whimsical but still wearable and sophisticated garments. Judging by the array at their presentation in Chelsea, they certainly succeeded. Polka dots were the print du jour in the ‘50s, but Sonia Yoon and Ben Clyburn Channing translated the preppy print into everything from a darling skirt to a perfectly adorable one-shouldered, full-skirted dress. Aside from the spots, there were stripes, nautical details, and rose prints (the rose is the national flower of the United States, you know)—but not everything was quite so sweet. One innovative print came from a photo of crushed Coke cans. Another American cliché, certainly…but who knew it could translate so well to the wardrobe?
3.1 PHILLIP LIM MENSWEAR
Phillip Lim has been making menswear for years-but how well do you remember it? "The women’s would snowball and kill everything in its path, so it was time to stop ignoring that and address the idea of moving menswear forward," explained Lim at his first standalone menswear presentation. "It was time to stop ignoring half the population." Gentlemen, rejoice: Lim’s brand of cool, casual sportswear is bigger and better than ever, starting with leather—yes, spring leather. Trousers, shorts, and even a tee looked fresh in this typically cold-weather fabric; the trick was keeping it lightweight and soft enough to mimic the slouchiest knit. Hipster details like double-breasted jackets-cum shirts and ankle-strap boots translated the 3.1 we know so well from women’s to garments that Lim loves to wear himself.
ARISE AFRICAN FASHION COLLECTIVE
Chirping birds and thunder announced the Arise African Fashion Collective show featuring Jewel by Lisa, Tiffany Amber, David Tlale, and Eric Raisina. A celebration of African culture through color, print, and airy movement, the show still remained faithful to the pulse of New York City. "I wanted to blur the line between traditional African culture and the sleek city girl," explained Lisa Folawiyo of Jewel by Lisa. Tiffany Amber favored painterly yellows and greens, David Tlale offered structured designs in sumptuous champagne and cream tones, while Eric Raisina, in stark contrast, provided a cornucopia of texture, print and fabric. Far from disjointed, all four designers joyfully honored a global sense of style, delivering a cohesive show.
ERIN WASSON x RVCA
"It’s simply meant to be about a girl’s journey," Erin Wasson said of her eponymous debut collection. The show had a distinct Jack Kerouac vibe, telling the story of a woman on the road, unapologetically unkempt. Models styled to appear "dirty and dusty, like savage beasts that just rolled out of the desert" stormed the runway in ultra-short mini dresses, midriff-bearing tee-shirts and perforated knits. Shredded black skinny pants, a taupe boyfriend blazer and oversized sweaters elevated the collection from simply a boho-chic girl's romp through Bonnaroo.
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