On Day 6 of New York Fashion Week, designer Tory Burch kicked off the morning with her first-ever runway show, presenting a batch of retro-inspired skirts, jackets and dresses that were inspired by “Deauville in the Twenties,” according to her blog. In a palette of navy, rust, mustard and tangerine, Burch hit the highlights that have helped her find a devoted following — A-line dresses, mix-and-match prints and uptown tweed jackets, all punctuated by the models’ polished coifs and uber-pointy kitten heels.
But Burch left some room for experimentation, adding rows of navy raffia fringe to a silk chiffon jacket, opting for floor-grazing length with three chiffon gowns and putting her own polished spin on backpacks and platform sandals, two trends that surfaced last spring.
At the J. Crew presentation, the crowd went mad when Beyonce, clad in a body-hugging gold-sequined mini dress, and her sister Solange Knowles arrived. Then the spotlight turned back to a women’s collection designed by Marissa Webb and menswear designed by Frank Muytjens, under the watchful eye of J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons.
For women, eye-popping combinations of fuchsia, coral, lemon, aquamarine and kelly green were balanced by looks that embraced essential prep: trench coats, modest hemlines and a palette of chambray, navy and crimson. By now, the “Jenna effect” — quirky color combos, the mish-mash of formal and casual, menswear styling — surprises no one. But come next spring, the colorful clutches — one mint green satchel, in particular — and the pastel and printed shoes are what shoppers will covet.
At Vera Wang, after Beyonce did a quick costume change and slipped quietly into her front-row seat, the designer channeled Alice in Wonderland and 18th-century wallpaper (yes, you read that correctly) in a collection that seemed vaguely futuristic, slightly trippy and — in some instances — downright confusing. The designer is willing to experiment with texture, and certain looks — a mint ensemble that with a quilted vest and a chiffon skirt, for example — highlighted her skill in that arena.
But several looks, primarily those that paired fitted, peplum-waist tops with little more than panties, raised questions as to whom Wang has in mind with the collection — certainly not her more conservative clientele or those who love the romantic draping and pleating of past collections. At least some good news for those who love leggings: Wang’s psychedelic prints actually made the skin-hugging staples look like futuristic armor, which felt decidedly fresh.
Like Tory Burch before them, Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig hosted their first-ever runway show Tuesday, as well, featuring a spring collection inspired by an Ilya Repin painting of an underwater world. To parlay the ocean depths into a collection of formal gowns, the designers used illusion netting, scale-like embroidery and cascades of metallic and silk fringe.
While Chapman and Craig have mastered the art of folding, pleating, tucking and manipulating fabric into forms either frothy or sculptural, a turn toward the sleek and sensual imbued the collection with a sense of change. Of course, there was tulle — and lots of it — along with lace and feathers, and plenty of Hollywood-ready gowns that we’ll no doubt see on a red carpet very soon. But the real chill-inducing pieces were those bedecked with swinging chiffon tendrils and cascading gold fringe, designed to mimic the elegant tentacles of a jellyfish. Among the front-row fans: Emma Roberts, Mandy Moore, Rachel Zoe, Michelle Monaghan, Kelly Osborne and reality-TV alums Olivia Palermo and Louise Roe.
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