by Beth Hammarlund
Fashion always has a new darling, and half of the young established designers on the scene are still swooned over as wünderkinds. But as much as fashion is, and will always be, obsessed with the new and the young, there are still some old school heavy hitters who are going to knock it out of the park every time.
“Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex.” -Cher Horowitz
Although I usually take quotes from Clueless as gospel, Francisco Costa made a pretty solid argument against her skin-baring stance in his collection for Calvin Klein. Exaggerated busts recalled the conical constructions of Jean Paul Gaultier and the signature bustiers of Proenza Schouler, but the collection was anything but derivative.
Peplumed hips and nipped-in waists further enhanced the female form, but the effect barely recalled old-fashioned corsetry. The details and restrained palette, a gentle mix of black, cream and white, exaggerated boobs, peplumed hips, nipped-in waists, something very old-fashioned about the way the clothing worked on the models’ bodies, but the lines and palette were totally futuristic. It’s always impressive to see a designer create pieces that ooze sex, but don’t rely on bare skin to do so. Costa’s collection left much to the imagination, but was anything but conservative.
Oscar de la Renta
Oh, Oscar. We’re having such a weird moment in our relationship. I love your work. Even your worst collections are better than half of the other collections out there. I just wish you wouldn’t give interviews. De la Renta has been pretty pissed at the Obama camp ever since Michelle Obama deigned to wear Alexander McQueen (a British line) instead of an American designer when she went to meet the Chinese president. Most recently he dressed Ann Romney during the Republican National Convention, and one has to wonder how much of that decision was made solely out of spite. But many great artists suffer from severe bouts of immaturity (or megalomania), and de la Renta is a great artist.
His spring collection was a bit all over the place (all of the colors and all of the shapes!), but it came across less “This collection has no cohesion,” and more “There’s something for everyone! All the stuff!!” The man is always going to known as Mr. Upper East Side, but there were plenty of looks and pieces that could be worked into riskier ensembles.
I had plenty of “I want that” moments when I was going through his collection, and my co-worker recently described me as “the blonde, straight Joan Jett.” (Best, and most inaccurate, compliment ever.) So maybe he really does make something for every (rich) one. True, Jett probably won’t step out wearing an Oscar de la Renta evening gown anytime soon, but Kristen Stewart might.
Critics all over are calling the Spring 2013 collection the best of Narcisco Rodriguez’s career. I’m not ready to give it the number one spot quite yet (the man has had a very long, very successful career – I need more time to mull it over), but it was certainly one of the highlights of New York Fashion Week.
It was quite similar to Costa’s collection for Calvin Klein in the sense that the effect was extremely sensual, but Rodriguez upped the ante on the sheer fabric. The looks were absolutely bedroomy. Sensual and classic.
Francisco Costa and Narcisco Rodriguez are champions of minimalism. Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, is unfamiliar with the concept. The first half of his show, a bright assault of turquoise and poppy red, as well as 50 pounds of accessories, was so visually aggressive that by the time the lovely gowns rolled out, I was afraid that they were going to punch me in the face. There were beautiful offerings in black and white , and there was one floral dress in particular that I think may have been lovely, but I couldn’t really tell. I was too distracted by the scarf tied around the neck, the chandelier earrings, the cardigan, the layered bracelets, the over-sized bag, and the fucking beret. His styling almost always bugs me, but it’s kind of his thing. I doubt it will change any time soon.
An art deco white pantsuit was sophisticated with a retro edge, though it did kind of remind me of something the bad guys in one of the Indiana Jones would wear. (Not the fourth movie. We do not speak of the fourth movie.) And crap, there was a simple black cold-shoulder gown that I adored. So that’s great. I have predicted my own future! And now I predict that Trent Reznor will show up at my doorstep with a pizza and a stack of horror movies. Check in with me in a week.
Click HERE for Beth’s Spring 2013 NYFW reviews of Richard Chai Love, Peter Som, Lela Rose, Rebecca Minkoff and Suno.
Click HERE for Beth’s Spring 2013 NYFW reviews of Marc Jacobs, Thakoon, Jason Wu and Altuzarra.
Click HERE for previous installments of String Theory.