Dispatch: The Fall Fashion Week That Was, Volume II

February 23, 2012 | by —Jeffrey Slonim | Style & Beauty

A look by Jill Stuart  

Day Three
On Saturday, Dispatches began the morning at Lacoste (10 AM), where Kellan Lutz was visibly disappointed with his seat, which was in front of a giant plastic snow machine. However, the machine, and the real snow falling outside of the Theatre at Lincoln Center, gave the clean, wintry show a seasonal feel. Lacoste had a hip European collegiate look going. The clothes were tight for winter and appeared warm. Dresses had zippers with ring pulls, an aprés-1970s ski update.

At Jill Stuart (11 AM, Stage) the show kicked off with oversize coats. “It’s always great, always very different,” said Twilight actress and front row guest Nikki Reed on Stuart’s work. The designer’s collection mixed maroon, velvet, dark brocade and floral prints, and sheer stripes and lace.

Over at the IAC building, Zoe Saldana, clad in iridescent floral pants and an aqua blazer, sat front row at Prabal Gurung (2 PM). As the collection emerged, the clothes showed an effortless edge and futurism. He sent hats down the runway that were fit for a cardinal, only black. He did sci-fi patterns mixed with leather and fur. There were sheer cut-outs, and the vision was like no other. Gurung hit it out of the park.  

Moments later, I was backstage at Hervé Léger (3 PM, Stage) catching up with supermodel Camila Alves. “The thing that I love about Hervé Léger," she mentioned, “is how it fits the body of a woman.” No kidding, these bandage dresses hug and tug. Designers Max and Lubov Azria took the dresses one step further this season, adding sexy leather harnesses that had Hermés-quality straps and buckles. The appeal was basically S&M for the boardroom. In the front of the house, Kristin Chenoweth called Max “adorable” and then started speaking in French.
Christian Siriano (4 PM, Theatre) began his show in an unexpectedly demure fashion, with an off-white jacket over an oatmeal dress. He later sent out a big tulle skirt with a leather jacket and a Harvard crimson number. He claimed that he was inspired by the 1930s film The Vampire Bat

Much like Tadashi Shoji and Jason Wu, Monique Lhuillier (7 PM, Theatre) offered up a Shanghai-in-the-1920s feel. And she did so with fiery orange leather looks and a likewise orange lava print that Ty Hunter, Beyoncé’s stylist, went wild for. There was also a tall, voluminous red dress that had Oscars written all over it. And she ended the show with sparkle and shimmer. This diminutive French designer has big ideas and superb execution. 

Day Four     
Sunday morning, I brought a friend’s son who is interested in fashion to Lela Rose (11 AM, Studio). I gave him my seat and stood with his father in the standing section. After the show, Brad Goreski was super-nice to the kid. (I think he was reminded of himself at that age. He later thanked me for bringing the kid along.) Rose showed gray and black stripes, patterns on patterns, and a slew of sexy cocktail dresses with sparkling flourishes. She has a keen eye for uptown style.  
At Tracy Reese (2 PM, Studio) there were fun prints paired with big glasses, big sweaters, and riding helmets. Her shows are always styled beautifully. I noted orange and gold, fur shoulders, and the rust color that has also been big this season. Her oversize purple pattern on one camel-colored dress was heaven. 

  A look by Tommy Hilfiger and Peter Som

Dispatches then checked out the Skaist-Taylor presentation (2:30 PM) in the Lincoln Center basement garage. Okay, the jaded fashion set was simply expecting car exhaust, but the women who brought us Juicy Couture (and sold the line) are now doing the rich hippie clothes that they wear themselves. Models wore wide-brim hats and long coats with fur trim. In the background, TV screens showed models running through redwood forests. “We are total Californians,” said Pamela Skaist-Levy. “We wanted to bring car culture to New York City. And the redwood forest. And nature. And everything we love. We’re super-eclectic,” she said, with large gold rings on every finger.  

Dispatches returned to the Park Avenue Armory for Tommy Hilfiger’s women’s show (8 PM). This time designer Peter Som was offering Hilifger an assist. Still, there was a fascinating congruence between the men’s and women’s shows, which took place in the same re-created indoor park.

The Som-Hilfiger vision was even more military-inspired. We could feel the drum beat of a military academy as we enjoyed the crimson, yellow-gold and army green coats and dresses on the runway. And there were riding notes, like vintage Gucci-style patterns. Hilfiger has a vision that works. Few designers can show so grandly and still deliver such a clear point of view. I noted long, double-breasted jackets with military collars paired with skirts. Those looks will make women rethink horsey clothes at the back of their closets.

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