New York Fashion Week Trends, Part 1

September 13, 2011 § 1 Comment

Floral Acid Trip

(l-r) Richard Chai LOVE, Diane von Furstenberg, and Peter Som

Designers updated the perennial floral print this season by saturating it with color and imbuing it with a dreamy, drugged-out quality. Peter Som showed enlarged rose prints done in hot pink, mandarin orange, chartreuse and plum. They had a sweetness to them, but the off-kilter coloring made me wonder if they were imagined from an acid trip. The florals at Richard Chai LOVE had a similar effect; the blue tropical petals recalled photo negatives and felt psychedelic against their bright salmon backdrop. Diane von Furstenberg’s floral prints also carried a hallucinogenic quality to them, although they seemed more joyous in their cartoonish abstraction.

Secret Sex Appeal

(l-r) Prabal Gurung, The Row, and Donna Karan

Silhouettes are getting sexier this season, albeit semi-covertly. A highlight from Donna Karan’s show took form in an hourglass cocktail dress with subtle cutouts following seams at the hips, shoulders, and sternum. Karan covered the openings with sheer black fabric, adding a modesty to the look. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen added interest and seduction to a textured top by cutting out two small triangles at the hem, revealing modest slivers of midriff. Meanwhile, Prabal Gurung used cutouts more aggressively, which made the patterned panels look either glued to the models’ bodies or magically floating in place.

Through the Hourglass

(l-r) Cushnie et Ochs, Jason Wu, and Alexander Wang

It was nice to designers experimenting with couture shapes in sportswear, but I can’t say the results were always successful. Cushnie et Ochs applied disk-like peplums to their minimal white dresses, giving their collection a fun, space-age appeal. After a while, however, the peplums began to resemble something like crotch visors. Alexander Wang inventively added peplums with zip pockets to floral warm-up jackets – perfect for storing Snickers bars or bottles of Gatorade. Jason Wu’s peplums were the most conventional, finding themselves on evening gowns and prim skirts. I liked the feather details he added underneath a peplum on a black cocktail dress. It gave it some whimsy and 20s appeal.

Sports Center

(l-r) Cynthia Rowley, Alexander Wang, and Rag & Bone

One of the biggest and most surprising trends of the season thus far has been the popular use of mesh. Alexander Wang embraced the trend quite strongly, using it to construct everything from hoodies to track jackets to pants to dresses. He also designed mesh pockets on to a series of shorts, a detail that seems pointless to me but that critics seem to love. Cynthia Rowley constructed some beautiful dresses made from lazer cut mesh fabric in white and black, and Rag & Bone showed several open-knit sweaters that recalled fish netting or old sweaters worn to the bone.

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